We're hiking through the woods. It's November and the air holds a chill. But the sun is high and the colors are warm. There are patches of light on the ground. The trees have gone gold. It's the kind of day that calls to one's heart.
Most of us walk with leisure. Several boys, Lonny and me, and Sis on her leash. But Gabriel has Flash, and they can't move slow. The dirt trail winds before them in an inviting way. There is territory to be explored. Lungs to be filled with fresh air. There's an adventure wrapped in autumn glory. They run ahead of us. A boy and his dog. They bound ahead until they are breathless. They're matched pretty well. Both spirited. Both curious. Both wanting to grab life for all it's worth.
I mosey behind with the others and watch them go. Every so often I call out. They're too far ahead. I need to see their backs. I need to be within earshot of Gabe's voice. Then I see them make a turn, looping back, and they're on a parallel path coming our way. I can't stop watching them. I'm drawn to the life in their steps.
I understand, as I see them move together, that I'm drawn because this is the way I want to live.
I want to run forward to receive blessing. I want to move with reckless freedom into the goodness and grace of God's love. I want to run with joy and confidence because I know He is with me, and this is quite simply a beautiful thing.
I shout out for Gabe and Flash to stop. To wait. The rest of us catch up, Sis moving slowly, the family chatting, filling the quiet places with voices. When we meet Flash and Gabe, they're resting for a moment. Gabe is sitting on the ground. Flash is on the ground, too, his face near his boy's bent knees. It only takes a breath for them to spring up and they're moving again.
And I'm happy to see them take off.
Because in watching them run in beauty and grace, something in me has come free.