Our neighborhood is full of dedicated walkers. From our perch on Romance Point Street, we can see friendly faces walking by. There is a group of three friends who walk together every day, rain or shine. Pulled along by excited dogs on canvas leashes, you can set a clock by their commitment.

Since our kitchen faces the road, it’s a highlight for my extroverted 5-year-old to see someone friendly walk by. And if she happens to be outside when a neighbor passes, she’s guaranteed to say “Hi” and strike up a conversation.

You’ll see them coming—kind faces, perhaps headphones on, enjoying the stroll. But in their hand, many carry a stick. I’ve even seen pipes or rods.

You know they have a story.

I’ve seen hiking sticks, yes. After a quick neighborhood poll, some shared how they had started using a hiking stick while living in or visiting the mountains. They discovered the beauty of balance and extra support, so here they are, hiking through a residential neighborhood in the Hill Country. Many carry a stick of some sort because of loose dogs or aggressive deer. A few noted that a recent surgery or need for balance inspired their usage.

Something happened that caused them to take a stick of some sort with them on their walk.

Every day, I’m inspired by the faith, wisdom, and determination they represent. They could stay inside because of what might happen. They could ignore the possibility of danger and walk hands-free. They may even have a valid reason to not go on a walk again. But they don’t let those things keep them inside. They still venture out for walks. They instead wisely carry something with them for protection, while enjoying movement and fresh air.

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Proverbs 27:12).

On our next walk—whether we carry a stick with us or not—let’s ponder and apply the advice in Psalm 107:43: “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.”

Let’s be inspired by the people we see out on a walk today. The ones who don’t let a past scary moment define them and keep them inside in fear. But the ones who wisely make plans for how to respond the next time an unknown large dog comes charging at them. The ones who don’t allow the challenge of the past to keep you away from the beauty of the outdoors and the freedom of a walk. With hope in one hand and wisdom in the other, let’s venture out on the adventures that the day holds.

If you walk by our house on Romance Point Street, we’re sure to wave!

“The exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis.”

“…Speak softly and carry a big stick.” [Theodore Roosevelt]