Unless you are a classic rock fan, you may be too young to remember the rock group, Genesis. I wasn’t a huge fan, but among the songs I liked, this was a favorite: “Cause, I can’t dance, I can’t talk. The only thing about me is the way I walk.”
I think a lot about “the way I walk.” I’ve often joked with people that when I found myself in a bad place, or in a compromising situation, I blame my feet. Well, if my feet had not walked me into that place, then I would have compromised myself. My feet have carried me into many bad places in my lifetime. If only my feet would repent, and walk in better paths, then all would be well, right?
The Bible speaks a lot about paths and which ones we should walk or avoid. The Psalms especially talk about paths. Psalms 17.5 “Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” Psalm 23.3 ”He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 27.11 ”Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” Do a word study and you will find many more. Obviously, King David thought a lot about about the way he walked.
In Ephesians 5, St. Paul says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” The way I walk is the way I live. It is the path of my life. I have to confess that for much of my life, the path I have walked has been a foolish one. I could not begin to account for the amount of time I have wasted in utter foolishness and idleness. I did not walk circumspectly; that is, I did not walk with any care or concern.
What I must do is to learn how to redeem the time? The dictionary has many nuances for the word redeem, but I will limit it to this one: gain or regain possession of (something). The way I should walk, or the way I should live my life is a matter of gaining or regaining something. What I would like to regain is the innocence that I lost (or was taken from me). Why would I want to do that? True or not, in my mind I see an image of a child who lived a rather carefree and happy life, until the evil of that age took away my innocence. So, being a bit of a fantasy, it is not something that I will ever regain.
Holiness is something I want to gain. We might think we know what the word means, but its helpful to dig into the etymology of the word. It can be defined as “sacred”, but that only poses more questions. The root of the word in English and German mean health, happiness, or wholeness. It is something that cannot be touched by corruption. In other words, when I attain holiness, I attain to the fullness of my humanity. I become a complete person in the way that God intended. I must admit that I am tired of my brokenness and would love to be complete. Holiness, or wholeness, is the only way to real and lasting happiness.
Yet, if the days of St. Paul were evil, is it possible to attain this state of completion, or is it also a fantasy? I don’t remember the source, but I once read where the Elders said that the time would come when attaining holiness would be almost impossible. Yet, they said that if anyone gains to any part of holiness in those days, they would be greater than the Elders. So, whether or not I can attain to the fullness of holiness, I must walk in paths that lead me towards it. The Church has given us paths to walk – attending the Liturgies, confession, communion, etc. Sadly, many of us have abandoned those paths. Surely, the Master was correct when he said that the Way is narrow and few find it. The path of the world is wide indeed, but it only leads to brokenness and death.
The only thing about me is the Way I walk.