Day 28 – Sputter

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I sputtered through Wednesday. I’m not sure I saw or did anything terribly different. But I did notice a new pace.

I met up with a financial advisor at a new coffee shop. Bread & Brew was a bust, the cafe part at least. It was hot from the oven, the tables were kind of dirty, and the whole place felt disheveled. Talking to a financial advisor was new, and a little depressing. Growing up is hard, and new questions beget new things to think about. #NegativeNancy

I took a long, slow walk home, even though it was 85 degrees. At least I was adjusting my pace so as to see more in the neighborhood. I wandered through Dupont and Logan, looking at houses split in two. Developers must have literally cut originally large homes in half and painted a line down the middle of the exterior. I had never really noticed that.

I was making my way to The Coffee Bar in Logan, a great spot I blogged about earlier. It was closed by the time I arrived, so I ambled up to U Street and opted for frozen yogurt instead. Menchie’s isn’t new to me, nor is the concept. It is a little…whimsical though, if you can avoid throwing up from all the neon and sugar.

A few other landmarks or interesting places caught my eye. In reality, though, it was a pretty routine day. In fact, the really new opportunity I had was the invitation to attend a black tie gala celebrating Georgia Independence Day. The country, not the state. But I had to back out at the last minute.

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By the time I arrived home, I had seen a few new sights, walked a slower pace, and reflected a bit more than usual. Maybe that, in itself, is a shift due to this 30 day challenge. Routine, everyday things like a walk home can be approached in a different way, loosening up my thoughts and perspective, whether life changing inspiration strikes or not.

Day 23 – Meander Mount Pleasant

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I left my old job on Thursday. So Friday I was free to wander the city. Have you ever had one of those days? I left the house with no real plan or destination, so I meandered the sidewalks of DC.

I started with lunch at 2:30. Pizza. Delicious. It was fun to idle time in the restaurant, picking up random conversations among other day-time loafers. I thought of my former coworkers at their desks. I missed them, but I did not miss going to work.

After lunch I picked up books on hold at the library. The Mt. Pleasant branch is a striking classical building, whose entrance is tucked away on the side. You go up what feels like a secret staircase to an interior door.

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From the library it was natural to walk a few blocks over to Mt. Pleasant Road. I ambled down the main strip toward 16th Street and then continued south along 17th Street. I stopped to take pictures of odd signs or interesting windows, whatever caught my eye or invited me to linger.

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I noticed several expressions of devotion, besides churches. There was a framed picture of the Virgin Mary stacked on a market shelf with a coffee pot and cheese grater. Outside a senior center I saw a sculpture of a person with arms raised in resurrection-like celebration. The Potters House looked closed, but its painted candle still burns alongside the stencil quote from the Bible.

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I forget how saturated a “secular” city can be with signs of faith. Most of my friends are not religious, which is probably true for most Washingtonians. Do those signs and statues offend them, or do they overlook them like I often do? I wonder what token or expression of spirituality would cause my friends to notice and be moved. I don’t mean converted or convinced. I just mean a positive impression, like making them smile or think or feel love. Maybe some image or thought would stick with somebody long enough to earn a place in their mental curio cabinet.

Then I think, Jesus Jeremy, you’re the expression of devotion. It’s your words or actions, small but interesting, that catch someone’s eye and invite them to linger. What inside me is as beautiful or quizzical as that storefront sign? I’ve been exploring the city, but here is an invitation to search within.

 

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Day 2 – Long Walk Home

As we go about the world, everything we meet and everything we see and hear and touch, far from defiling, purifies us and plants in us something more of contemplation and of heaven.

Thomas Merton

 

I walked home from work today. A three hour stroll along unknown streets. I ambled across the Capitol lawn, snaked up through Noma, and wandered around Eckington, Bloomingdale, and Shaw.

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No rush. No map. Just seeing, hearing, and touching everything that I could.

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I listened to my body, resting when tired, snacking when hungry, changing into sneakers when dress shoes began to pinch. And now I am home. No deep meditation or forced reflection. Just gratitude and wonder.

I wonder how the path walked me, shaped me in ways I don’t yet know, purified me from the expectation for anything more than the gift of a long walk home.

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