Thankful for the Day and My New Friend “Tran”

I have started a new routine of taking a morning stroll after consuming an appropriate amount of coffee. While these walks are definitely beneficial for my physical health, they are essential to my spiritual and emotional wellbeing. The mornings are generally quite and I’m able to spend some time centering myself before entering “work mode”.

On this morning’s walk, the moon was still brightly lighting the western sky. It was truly a thing of beauty. As I made my way towards a slightly wooded trail, I noticed how I could see the reflection of the sunrise on Parkview Regional as the moon hovered over. I snapped a picture that fails to capture the wonder and awe of the moment.

As I continued to appreciate the beauty of my surroundings, I spent some time in prayer for those at Parkview. The hospital is a place of healing, hope and restoration. And yet, at the same time, it is a place where people encounter pain, trauma and grief. In this place, some will celebrate the joy of new life or the victory of restored health, while others will grieve the loss of a loved one.

While walking towards and around PRMC, Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” (courtesy of the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein) provided the soundtrack. Talk about beauty! One of my favorite moments in all of musical history comes at about the 20:04 mark. I get goosebumps every single time I hear this…

As I began to head home, the sun rising in the eastern sky began to paint a new picture of awe-filled beauty. Again, even with the advancements of iPhone cameras, one simply cannot adequately capture the moment.

As I continued walking, Bill Mallonee and the Vigilantes of Love provided the soundtrack. Bill is one of my favorite songwriters. I found myself singing out loud to “Farther Up the Road”. I especially love the second verse and chorus:

Now some will steal your garden
Some will sow their weeds
Yeah, some will rob you good and blind
Just to see you bleed
Honey, cover me with roses
This sack of bones and skin
Come and breathe upon this spirit
‘Fore winter settles in

Checking out of this cheap motel
With the wind all in our souls
God shows His face farther up the road

As wonderful as all of that happens to be, my absolute favorite part of my morning walk was running into my “neighbor”. Every morning, at about the same time and location, I pass an older gentleman who I refer to as “Tran” (fans of “New Girl” will understand).

Every morning, “Tran” smiles while pointing at me with one hand while giving me a thumbs up with the other. If “Tran” had a soundtrack, I believe it would feature Simon and Garfunkel’s “59th Street Bridge Song” played on repeat. I mean, every time I encounter “Tran” those familiar lyrics come to mind…

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobble stones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy

I believe “Tran’s” daily message to me is, “Slow down and take it all in.”

This morning, I passed “Tran” and then found myself walking behind him. All of a sudden, “Tran” just came to a full stop. I found myself thinking, “What is he doing? ”

Then, out of nowhere, 5 deer ran no more than 4 feet in front of “Tran”. In response, “Tran” started waving at the deer and loudly laughing. After they passed, he turned to face me, smiled, pointing at me with one hand and giving me a thumbs up with the other. He turned back around, continued laughing, started walking and gave me a wave as he made his way down the path towards his home.

Hopefully we can all take some time each day to slow down and appreciate the beauty that is all around us. I honestly think it’s the only way we can survive this mixed up, crazy world!