Posted: August 24, 2008 in The Big Move

One of the best parts of my day comes quickly anymore. I get up early, training myself to need less sleep. Before my family gets up – in fact, before campus gets up – I head out on a morning walk.

My destination is Stauffer Chapel, a breathtaking building down on the undergrad campus. And I mean
on the undergrad campus. We live on a mountain, and in addition to the steep grade that defines the biggest part of the walk, I counted 202 steps from our apartment to the chapel’s front door.

I took my camera along the other day – just the once – to record bits and pieces of my early morning.

There are often deer along the path. The sun isn’t up yet on my morning walk, so I had to mess with the flash on my camera so you could see the deer. The pictures aren’t great. But the reality is awesome.

I’ve learned it isn’t easy to walk down a steep hill. It doesn’t take much effort to fall down one, but to steadily walk is quite a challenge.

Anyway, it doesn’t take long to arrive at the chapel. I’m asuming this beautiful building is open 24/7 because it is always open when I get there, and no one else besides the deer and the landscaping crew is up yet.

I’m not much on the traditional signs of reverence. I don’t think God has a financial interest in stained glass. And I only take off my hat in a church building to keep from pissing people off. But for some reason, I walk in this building and my arms move themselves to remove my baseball cap. And I sense God.

I walk to the front of the chapel each morning. On the way, there are six Bible verses I read on the wall: three on each side. Three of the verses are some of my favorites. I salute each of them. I end up standing, hat in hand, in front of this massive stained glass wall. Each morning, I look up in awe and recite the Lord’s Prayer. This is how I intend on starting my day every day. It is my focusing prayer.

Then I turn and walk out. Simple as that.

I have to walk to the other side of the stained glass first to take in the amazing view of the Pacific Ocean. I see the waves rolling in. I see the ocean lose itself in the sky on the horizon. I’ve seen the sun rising over the mountains a couple of mornings.

Then, I trudge up the 202 steps and the steep mountain grade to get started on the rest of my day. The prayer walk is great, but facing the mountain in the immediate aftermath is hard. Not a bad metaphor for life.

We have lots of great friends who have said they plan to come see us sometime. I have an offer you just can’t refuse. When you come, I will be immersed in law school, and Jody and Hillary will be much more available than me. But bring your walking shoes. You have a standing offer to get up off our couch in the early morning, go on a morning walk with me, and have in your possession an unforgettable start to the gift of a day.

  1. wjcsydney says:

    Wow, Al, what a way to start the day. You have convicted me to get out of bed earlier and do something similar (we live about 5-10 minutes walk from Sydney harbour).

  2. alsturgeon says:

    Take pictures!!!!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s