A Chesed Walk
A Chesed Walk is a similar exercise to The Patience Walk, but far more demanding: The concept is not self-flagellation, but to maintain a sense of calm even when I go shopping with my wife and her sister.
The idea is to walk with a smile from one end of about ten thousand stores to the next, while carrying piles of clothes “We’re thinking about.” Comments and suggestions are not permitted, especially as the Spanish – I think it was Spanish, but they were speaking so quickly, without any consonants, so I’m not positive, – was flying fast and furious. The husband/brother-in-law must have a constant smile on his face, with a full expression of patience and pure pleasure to share such an exciting adventure.
This is what I call serious Midot Development, or refining my character. It is a deliberate program, not a spatchcock of different suggestions and ideas. I set out to remain patient, happy, and calm, no matter how challenging the time.
I added an element to my objective: I wanted my time and effort to be an act of Chesed, or giving, to my wife and her sister. I decided to enjoy the fact that I could give so much by simply shlepping around for a few hours as a glorified and silent shopping cart.
I take Chesed walks when I walk our dog, Pip, no matter the weather or how tired I may feel. Walking Pip is also an exercise in humility: I may be “Abba” to some, “Rebbi” to others, and “Rabbi Weinberg” to more, but to Pip I am the guy who has to clean up after him. Debbie assures me that Pip considers me the Alpha of the family, but I watch that silent smirk on his face as I pick up his poop! Some alpha!
There is always the Walk of Expectation as I look forward to praying in the synagogue. Then there is the Walk of Continuation as I return home trying to keep all the wonderful feelings I experienced in my prayers alive and strong as I head home.
I am trying to learn how to be a better walker, to enjoy and maximize the walking to and from one place to the next. I figure that there is no better way to practice Halacha, or Walking in the Ways of God, than to practice the walking itself.
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