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Meanderer’s Musings: Praise Talking Walk

The last time I seriously tried to write The Daily Dose of the Good (and Not So Good) Words each and every day, I came up with the idea of writing “off the cuff.” Off the Cuff pieces were supposed to be short so they wouldn’t take so much time. Most doses take me four or more hours to write. To save time, I would try not to obsess about each sentence quite as much. It didn’t work because I enjoy writing too much, so when I get past all my fears and get my ass into the writing chair, I will stay there for hours. When in a writing mode, I have been know to ignore my body’s needs. To hold my pee until I am pain because I am too intent on working my words. It didn’t work because even when I spend hours writing, re-writing, working, re-working, editing and re-editing, painful mistakes make it into print. I hate re-reading my pieces and noting the errors my brain refused to register even with careful editing. The faster I write a piece, the more mistakes my brain is unable to see.

This time around, I am trying a different gimmick. I have given each day a theme or purpose, some of which can be accomplished in 500 words or less. I will reveal these themes and purposes as I make my way through this week. There may be adjustments along the way as I find that certain themes work better on different days and in different ways that I currently am imagining. The themes that I have revealed so far: Saturdays=Scrap of Scripture Day and Sundays=Filling the Thank Full. Mondays will be dedicated to Meanderer’s Musings. Every Monday morning I will take a walk, and let the rhythmic movement move me to some bit of something that I will then share with y’all.

Today, I crossed paths with a gentleman in his early forties. He wore a long sleeved, stripped shirt untucked, and his pants were nice without being fancy. His pants and shirt looked like they were taken care but seemed just a little hard worn. His dark, tightly curly hair was cropped close. He looked clean cut. But he carried a bedraggled sleeping bag that was a mass of badly bunched fabric. He walked with a hitch in his step. As he walked he rhythmically vocalized, “Hallelujah! Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Hallelujah! Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.” As we came close to one another, I said, “Hello.” He paused his praise talk, met my eyes, smiled, nodded and mouthed, “Hello.” Then he picked back up his mantra. His praise talking walk filled the street behind me with a soft, sweet sound. “Hallelujah! Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Hallelujah! Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.”

I re-read that memory, and my eyes teared up. There was an incredible beauty to his praise talking walk. I cannot capture it. My praise of his praise talking walk stutters, it stammers, it limps along. But despite this, I praise his praise talking walk for the way its simple, haunting cadence put a lovely hitch in my day’s step.

I do not confuse my experience of that moment with the reality of life as lived by that man. Perhaps, his life is difficult. Perhaps, he is difficult. Chances are good that he is homeless and mentally ill. I know that many would be afraid of this man with his slightly worn work attire, his dark skin, his un-straight gait, his praise talking walk. They would find him oddly other. He may, at times, be a danger to others. He may, at times, be a danger to himself.

But in that moment, his praise talking walk was centered, joyful, glorious. His praise talking walk was a great gift to anyone who took the time to listen. I am grateful that I happened to be walking when he was. I am grateful that our paths crossed. I am grateful that I will walk a long time with his praise talking walk echoing in my mind.

“Hallelujah! Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Hallelujah! Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.”

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