Holiness in our Midst: Session 96

Holiness in our Midst


Story Circle Prompt: Share about your most memorable daily walking path? Is it your current one or one from the past? What makes it come to mind?

In this Time of Covid, I walk. More than I have in recent months and years. My daily walking path is a pretty, tree-lined residential street. It serves its purpose well. Its seasonal flowers, blooming bushes and old growth trees soften the impact of things on my mind: politics, the pandemic and racial unrest. (I must mention that this street, Shagbark Drive by name, has somewhat fewer trees than a month ago. The tree-trimming derecho swept through my town of Nevada.) 

But, in thinking about my most memorable daily walking path, I travel back in time to my 14 years in downtown Chicago. I would begin my trek at my apartment building at State and Elm Street in the Near North area, a block from Lake Michigan. I headed east toward the lake to Michigan Avenue. On Sundays, I would go south a few blocks to the Magnificent Mile, destination Fourth Presbyterian Church, directly across from the John Hancock Tower (now known as 875 Michigan Avenue). On weekdays, I would go north, past the palatial residences with stunning lake views. Traversing this stretch, I would often feel underdressed by humans, yes, but also by poodles in little sailor suits and babies who appeared to have their own couturiers.

Twelve blocks later, I would reach lovely-in-every-season Lincoln Park. Meandering through this spacious landscaped public treasure, my cares would disappear. I walked, taking care for bicyclists, until I was ready to cross the lagoon and head for the shore. Sometimes I would detour and walk the length of Navy Pier (pre- Ferris wheel) before I strolled along the lakefront to Oak Street beach, where I took the tunnel that connected to the street that took me back home.

I have never listened to real music while I walk, now or then. But most every walk in Chicago was accompanied by what I call the “music of the moment,” the current words in my head: song lyrics, lines of poetry or quotations. 


After I heard Don McLean sing “Bye, Bye Miss American Pie” one summer night on Navy Pier, I often sang it out loud it when I revisited the scene:

A long long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while…

The year that I turned 30, several times during October, I walked in rhythm to “Poem in October” by Dylan Thomas:

It was my thirtieth year to heaven 

Woke my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
   And the mussel pooled and the heron
           Priested shore
       The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
       Myself to set foot
           That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth…

One quotation I would ponder on my walks was the inscription on a plaque near the entrance to Fourth Presbyterian Church: “The Master is here and calleth for Thee.” I would wonder on my initial walks: Could that be true? Is God real? Over time, my experiences at my church were as advertised. Come to think about it, as I grew in faith, I would find that same Master calling for me, accompanying me, on my walks in my latter years in Chicago. Since then, too.



  1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, answer the question: Remember in words your favorite daily walking path. If it your present one, describe what you experienced on a recent walk. Did you encounter God on your walk? How did God speak to you?


  1.   Read aloud Session XCVI.
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt. 


[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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