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What do I do when I am stressed and laden with burdens? What do I do when I feel / that the problems are getting worse and my mind cannot focus on a solution? I cope with stress and problems by doing two things: I take a long walk alone, or I have dinner or dessert with a friend-couple. Walking alone reflectively has a way of relieving stress and clarifying the mind cluttered with so many concerns.
I had a professor in the seminary, the late Bishop Severino Pelayo, who told us how he wrote the outline of his doctoral dissertation on the philosophy of language. He took his pen and paper and walked from the seminary to the university. Before reaching the university, his outline was ready, and his mentor approved it. Walking has a way of focusing a cluttered mind. Chances are, after a long walk, you will reach home finding the solution to your problem.
Sharing a meal with a friend also helps a lot. When you are with friends, even water becomes sweet. A meal prepared by a friend you know loves you is always a welcome treat. When that same work of love is shared with love, that makes the meal a truly blessed encounter. We eat not only to get the energy to work. We share a meal in friendship, in love. One of my truly memorable meals was when my friend and I washed our dishes together after a hearty meal that both of us had prepared and worked on.
One of the best biblical incidents that prove to us the power of a long walk and the beauty of a love meal is the Emmaus incident.
The disciples were hurting, frustrated and confused. They needed a good long walk, seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were probably hoping to get their minds focused when they reached home and to get themselves relieved from the confusion that Jesus’ death brought to them.
It was in the sharing of a meal prepared with love and friendship that they recognized the Lord. The disciples prepared the meal for that “stranger” and broke bread with him. With that, their eyes were opened, and they recognized the Lord.
Life is a journey. Life is a long walk. Along this journey, we can get hurt and confused. As we take steps in this long walk, we can get wounded or bruised by stumbling or frustrated and disappointed by the antipathy of those walking the journey with us. No matter how bruised, wounded, pained or frustrated we may be, we should keep on walking, one step at a time, no matter how weak or feeble our legs may feel. We should not allow the woundedness or brokenness of the journey to paralyze us into inaction. Keep on walking, one step at a time. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The destiny of the journey is reached only by those who are willing to walk without counting the cost, one step at a time, unto eternity.
No matter how bruised or weakened we may feel, we have to keep a hospitable disposition, keep a friendly smile. No matter how tired or confused you may be. Sometimes, on days when we feel lost and hurting, we are tempted to let all know that we are beset with problems. We turn “masungit”, irritable and grouchy. The disciples of Emmaus turned to hospitality and graciously prepared a friendly meal despite their hurts and confusion. The way to get our hearts ready to love again and to serve again is to be friendly, kind and gracious. Go against your grain. Overcome evil with the power of good.
Discover the power of a long walk. Explore the beauty of a love meal. You will understand the blessings the Emmaus disciples received.
A WALK AND HEARTY MEAL
Jesus Our Light