I discovered it when I was 16 years old. It was a Saturday evening and night prep in school was short because the next day was Sunday and we needed to be in church early. After night prep, Linda, my girlfriend came to my class and handed me a note. She liked to write a lot of these kind of love notes so I was excited when I received it.
‘Open it and read it’, she said avoiding eye contact.
‘Huh?’, I was worried. She never let me open her letters in front of her.
‘Open it, Francis‘, she said.
I opened it. It said,
I know I’m standing right in front of you and it’s weird that you’re reading the letter (hopefully, I am able to stand in front of you while you read it)
Francis, I love you but I cannot continue with this relationship again. I don’t know how to explain it but today I felt like God spoke to me and told me to break up with you. It’s not really easy for me too please.
I don’t want to write too much because if I start writing too many things about too many memories, I will not break up with you again. I must obey God.
Please forgive me Francis. Maybe God will tell us to come back together but until then, I will still be your friend.
P.S. When you finish reading the letter, just nod so I’ll walk away to my hostel. Please don’t beg me. Please. ‘
If that letter had gone one word more, I would have collapsed and died. I looked up at her and she turned around and started walking off rapidly. I followed closely behind begging her to listen to what I had to say. I was so desperate; saying things like ‘God gave us His spirit so we can make decisions for ourselves, Linda’, ‘Please have you thought about how God doesn’t want me to die? If you leave me I’ll die‘, ‘Linda. Wait. If God did not want us together He wouldn’t have made us happy together. Remember what they said in church last week, God is not a sadist’. She just kept on walking.
I followed her to her hostel and hide behind a shrub whispering to her towel-clad friends to ‘help me call Linda that I’m outside here’ and ducking whenever an admin staff passed. I totally forgot I was also a student.
By the time they locked her gate, I came back to my senses and began running towards my hostel. I wasn’t fast enough, the gates were locked. My house master told me to go back to where I was coming from and return in an hour. So I decided to take a walk.
I don’t know how to go about marketing walks to you but I shall try.
You see, I am grateful for legs and roads because that’s all it takes to take a walk. Taking a walk refreshes a person and clears their head. There’s just something about looking at a whole expanse of road ahead of you; it makes your problem seem so small. There’s something about seeing other people go about their activities oblivious of your own problems; it makes you realize that there’s a world apart from you.
When you take a walk outside, you are inadvertently airing the issues in your heart. If you feed your heart through your eyes with your surrounding , your heart will pick what it needs to profer a solution.
I don’t know if anyone else understands or experiences this boundlessness I feel when I take walks. But I enjoin you to try it! It’s one of the reasons I seriously avoid crimes – I cannot imagine being imprisoned in a cell!
Take a walk the next time you feel overwhelmed. Thank me later.
Oh and Linda and I are still together (I’m 23 years old). I got my solution in the quiet of that night… during my first liberating walk.