On that particular route there are usually just cyclists. Only a few hard core walkers like myself would ever venture that far.
I love everything about that path: the tranquil river, the birds, horses in their paddocks, the countryside, the smell of the countryside and just how peaceful it is.
On the way, I chatted to this man in his canal boat. His companion, a dog, came out to sniff me. He said he's from Scotland and likes to travel but since his boat broke down he's been stuck in the same spot for a few months. There was a smaller boat behind that he'd bought for his son but he's not into it. He intends to sell it and then use the money to repair his boat so he could set off on his travels. As I was chatting to him I was dying to see what the inside of his boat looks like. In any case, his phone rang and I said a quick goodbye.
After wandering round the town of Waltham Abbey, I paid a visit to the actual abbey, which dates back to the Middle Ages. Legend has it that King Harold II was healed at that church. After spending a few minutes resting in the church I set off on my journey home.
On the way back, I chatted to this man who had been fishing. He said he hadn't caught anything and was preparing to go home. He believed at this time of the year the fish stay underneath the water.He said it's only when the weather gets warmer do the fish come up to play. He showed me some of his equipments he'd got quite cheaply at the Pound Shop. He said anyone could start off fishing with all they need for £5 or less.
Next, I noticed a man and his two dogs standing outside a canal boat. He said hello and I stopped to chat to him. He's originally from Ireland. He sold his property and bought a boat. He said he loves the freedom that lifestyle gives him. He asked me if I wanted to look in and I said yes and he gave me a guided tour of his living room room which led to a kitchenette with the shower room and toilet at the other end. I thought it was really lovely and just right for him and his two companions. When I came out we stood around talking for ages. By then it was getting cold and I started shivering. My friend offered to give me a spare scarf he had in his boat. I told him I had one in my bag which I took out. He asked me if I wanted a drink but I said I had to go as it was getting late. We then exchanged warm hugs. He said next time he'll make me a meal.
I was amazed how I had lost track of time and now I had to walk the rest of the 4 miles in darkness. At some point, I came across two guys sitting on a bench and one on a bicycle. The guy on the bicycle said hello and I said hello back. A dog standing close by snarled at me, came close, sniffed me and made a hasty retreat. The guy who had said hello asked me if I'd been walking on that route on my own as it was quite a "dodgy" place to be at night. He asked me where I'd come from and I told him. He asked me how far I was going and I said I only had another mile or so to go. He then wished me well.
I could see where the friend I'd met on the canal was coming from. He must have thought I was mad walking on that canal path on my own in darkness. What my friend didn't realise was I was walking with the conscious awareness that wherever I am, God is. Therefore, God is always loving me, protecting me and watching over me.
I believe it was God's love that was manifested as the actual walk that I enjoyed, the people I met along the way that I chatted to. It was God's love manifested as the friend on the canal boat who invited me into his home, his hospitality, his dogs, the stories we shared, and the hugs we exchanged.
I believe it was God's presence watching over me that was manifested as the man I had met later who had showed concern for my well being.
In other words:
"The light of God surrounds me; The love of God enfolds me; The power of God protects me; The presence of God watches over me. Wherever I am, God is!" ~~ James Dillet FreemanGod always takes care of His own.
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