The painted words on pavement are written so that pedestrians will see them as they are in motion. They are written to be seen in that order, but we, we squint and peer as far ahead as we can, always wondering what's next, when will we break into a run, what we will find further down the bridge. We ignore the steps falling in this moment, and we read the messages backwards.
RIGHT STAY WALKERS
NOW DOWN SLOW BIKES
It doesn't compute and the brain tells me it's meant to be read opposite and why, but my eyes refuse to adjust and read the way I'm meant to. My gaze continues fixed, trained on the distance and not the race. I know I need this trek today, but my goodness if I don't have a to-do list one mile long waiting for me at the end of it all. I start every run like this - counting seconds that pass too slowly, wondering when I'll get to the end and claim my share of that sore muscle satisfaction. He asks me about the words, why do they sound so backwards, and I explain: it's because they are.
But are they?
We continue to walk, brisk, planning the future. Buying this kind of house, pursuing this kind of work, finding this level of joy. He runs ahead and I stop to stretch and rest on the bench overlooking the river. I'm afraid of heights, and I'm afraid of this river, but I lean on the rail, fully lean, and stare over. It's just water. It's just space. And I stand safe, braced by metal that I'm sure won't give under my lean, feeling peace. Allowing myself to take in beauty instead of imagining a terrifying fall. He makes me this brave. I sit on the bench and stretch out warm in the sun. I close my eyes to be still and silently giggle at the detailed explanation of gussets being given behind me. I had no idea that word had multiple meanings. I don't think these folks do, either...
He returns, drenched and happy, and we sit, talk. Our words somehow glance the past, and he struggles, works hard to say what I need said, that all is well. We stand and I struggle, I work hard to tell him that I know, and that I believe it too. And as we walk, pulled unexpectedly and fully aware into this moment, this tender declaration of now, by the pain of our past, I look down and read:
Walkers, stay right.
My eyes widen and I realize and I laugh, grateful for the ways He shows us grace. For the reminders we have of our own limitations. For a mind that isn't designed to know the future but is built to know the now, to seek Him today. To find grace and joy in Him today. And oh the grace I find when I do. Oh, the joy.