I’m becoming more and more obsessed with the idea that we humans were made to move…everyday.
To trade our stagnation in for spirited living. Exchange our settling in for stepping out. And instead of stopping on top of this hill, we continue seeking for hidden treasures in those obscure places.
Moving is how we keep falling in love with life over and over again.
I remember when my parents told me we were moving to a new house across town and up a big hill and on an emptier street. My first response was grief. I didn’t want to leave our cozy cul-de-sac and all of my neighborhood pals. If I was given a choice in the matter, I would have stayed put.
A perfectly human response to leaving what feels so much like the “perfect” place. Why wiggle free from what seems so spacious already?
I grew up in a house where moving our bodies was just what you did.
I still can’t believe my dad trained with world class athletes in college. Or the fact that on summer evenings my mom, although not the professional runner like dad, would load my brother and I up in the car and drive to our elementary school to play while she jogged lap after lap around the dirt track. At the time, I never thought anything of it. Isn’t this what most parents did?
Our weekend family outings circled around parks and trails, be it digging for geodes atop a rock bed, hiking to secluded mountain lakes, going for bike rides through the neighborhood, rollerblading for miles back when it was still cool, and playing rounds of tennis until we were all hungry and hot.
I was taught, implicitly, the art of moving.
Spring breaks, summers, and Christmas vacations always included, you guessed it- going somewhere. We did repeat road trips to snowy mountains, breezy, rainy oceans, my grandparent’s timeshare in the middle of nowhere, to Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, rafting down the Grand Canyon, and to Central Oregon’s high desert.
From these early experiences I learned how movement brought beauty and connection into my life. Movement made me hungry for adventure and stirred my curiosity and wonder for life.
My parents, of course, had no idea this was happening inside of me. I didn’t either, until recently, as a parent myself, I started noticing my passion for movement, of all kinds, and how I’m inadvertently passing it on to my children.
We walk our driveway back and forth under the night sky, pointing out the big dipper, scanning the trees with our flashlight, and listening for the eerie owl’s hoot that haunts our woods.
We have our usual weekend routes- beach side jaunts to a café or the breathtaking loop around our favorite lake stopping at the playground half way.
There’s the steep walks up to lakes or waterfalls or down to quiet, pebbly coves.
Sometimes, we simply drive around the corner from our house and walk up the street parallel to ours for a different view across our valley.
Since my husband and I have been dating our relationship has been marked by movement. We’ve traversed so many oceans and continents in our fourteen years together that I need a few minutes to calculate how many moves we’ve made. Although I never could have dreamed of marrying a South African boy, here I am, having no choice but to succumb to this nomadic kind of life.
Movement seems to be divinely etched into my story.
We’ve lived multiple years in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Bellingham and Seattle, Austria and the Netherlands; and now have four children born in three different countries.
Not only did we pick up and move our houses countless times, but in every season our bodies and souls were completely transformed through the endless explorations.
No matter where we found ourselves- walking, biking, and running were a normal part of our days. We wandered quaint European alleyways for years. We traversed hundreds of miles on our bikes in the Netherlands. We meandered down boardwalks and sandy beaches in Cape Town.
It just so happens, that this simple practice of movement was and is the very thing that has kept our relationship together and our love from going flat.
Not only that, it gave our faith legs, the ability to run free like a child again, and in the process we ended up encountering the heart of a wild God who never stops running, walking, and moving with us.
We are a people on a pilgrimage and the trail head is always beneath our feet.
We were created to stretch ourselves out in all directions, to reach out further than we think we can without fear tying us down, to take steps towards all kinds people with a grace that grows and expands, to send our souls into the unknown, to let our bodies break a smile in the sweat, and to discover more hope, healing, and happiness in every move we make.