A Walk To Remember

Today had seemed to be just another Sunday. Church in the morning, lunch at the Cottee’s (a fairly regular occurrence) and church in the evening. That was the plan. Granted, there were more than a few tears, as you would expect from a church mourning the loss of a deeply valued member, but nothing more. I’ll be honest, I found this morning’s meeting extremely difficult. Again, the ‘how dare I be this upset about Annie’s death? I don’t deserve to be…’ feeling emerged, which only made things worse – but that was only fleeting. The time at the Cottee’s house was (as always) brilliant, but something unusual happened today. I decided to walk home.

Now, now. Hold your shock. Dawid Niemiec had my keys, and I didn’t really want to get a lift from anyone. In truth, a walk didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Lots to process and all that.
It’s around three miles from the Cottee’s home to my own, and incredibly scenic. Pictures below:

It was probably the most therapeutic walk home I’ve ever had. The views were staggering; the weather was phenomenal – that on its own would have been enough to make the journey home a good one. However, it just so happens that in the three miles that connect the two houses, many of my most treasured memories reside.

I remembered jogging up and down this road on a regular basis, until my legs were weak, and my lungs felt like they were giving up on me. I needed to. After all, I was going to play rugby for England, so I needed to be fit. This road remembers that determination. Further on, I remembered one of the best conversations I think I’ve ever had. Lounging in the shade beneath the trees, I remember discussing what my house would look like, what I would do when I finished university, what my children would be called. This road remembers my hopes and dreams. I remembered one of the first kisses I’d ever experienced as I walked past the hallowed ground; an idyllic footpath hidden from onlookers – that’s important when you’re fourteen you know. This road remembers the naivety of that teenage romance. Today it simply reminded me that it still did.

Today this road became aware of Annie. It became aware of who she was, how she impacted people and all the things I should’ve said to her but couldn’t quite summon the courage to when the opportunity arose. Today, this road will remember my tears at twenty-one and my conversation with God as I simply asked: “why did you choose this girl at this time?!” In the future, this road will remind me, just as God did today, that the Lord knows the plans he has for me. That my God has plans to give me hope, plans to give me a future. That irrespective of my lack of understanding, good will come from this. In the future, this road will remind me of the excitement I felt today as I put my grief and my questioning aside and looked at the sensational impact that Annie’s life has had, as well as the posthumous impact it is still having and will continue to have in the future.

Today this road will remember how I dealt with a lot of things as I walked from one house to another. It will remember how I stopped questioning God; stopped questioning unalterable events and started honouring Annie’s memory by worshipping God with a passion and fervour that I’ve never had before. Today was a walk to remember.

3 thoughts on “A Walk To Remember

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