By Ana Batista Borden, NolaCatholicParenting.org
Before each house hunt, like many, the most important criteria for me has been location, but probably for a different reason than most.“Where can I get to by foot?” was the question that loomed in the back of my mind each and every time.
We can easily consume hours of our day commuting to and from work, dropping and picking up kids to and from school and activities, running errands, attending Mass as well as visiting family and friends.
Gauging the distances by foot to all of these important places was high on my priority list.
Walking forces me to slow down, appreciate the details and the many gifts from God that surround me that I take for granted behind the wheel of a car. The sense of freedom I feel during a walk as well as the experiences and memories I have made during the course of the miles I have covered is difficult to match.
Taking positive strides
Beyond the health benefits and sense of community, walking evokes so many positive emotions for me and impacts all facets of my family and personal and professional life.
So, when I am off by foot for Mass, dropping off our youngest at school, visiting neighborhood restaurants and fulfilling errands in between, I can’t help but think how walking also keeps me grounded, literally and figuratively, as it reminds me of this quote, argued to have originated by one of my icons, Mies Van Der Rohe, “God is in the details.”
As an architect, of course, I am taking note of new and existing construction and their detailing in my area. As a painter, I am observing the way the sunlight hits a building and the shadows cast by trees.
As a mother pushing little ones and accompanying older ones at my side, I have answered some intriguing questions, taught them about the world around us, greeted our neighbors and observed our neighborhood animals.
As a traveler on foot, I have seen and experienced amazing cities around the world, learned about other cultures and customs, witnessed pilgrims making their way along El Camino de Santiago, visited relics of Catholic saints and seen some of the most amazing structures of worship of various faiths.
Just days before welcoming our first child, my husband and I walked our neighborhood hand in hand and decided on names. When my oldest was less than 1 year old cradled in her carrier, I walked nearly every neighborhood in Chicago and even climbed up to the First United Methodist Church, the highest place of worship in the world.
And, one of my first walking adventures when our family returned to the Crescent City included pushing our two oldest in a stroller as I walked the nine churches on Good Friday.
A thanksgiving activity
Beyond these memories, it is the time on foot that has fueled me with more vigor to live life to its fullest, reflect on the past, pray for the present and prepare for the future while absorbing all of the beautiful things and praising in thanksgiving to God for the gift of walking and experiencing all of the details that surround me.
What gifts from God have you experienced during your latest walking adventure?
Ana Borden is a native New Orleanian, wife, mother, architect and Roman Catholic. Her upbringing has had a profound impact on her personal and professional life as her parents and grandparents immigrated to the United States because of religious and political persecution.
Having the freedom to worship her Catholic faith is an important attribute of her religious convictions. While growing up in New Orleans, she was educated, surrounded and inspired by the Presentation Sisters, Carmelite nuns and Capuchin priests.
Today, she and her husband Brad juggle their own businesses while finding balance navigating life with little ones in the Catholic faith and as active parishioners in their parish.
Ana is owner and principal architect of AMB2 Architects, LLC. Ana’s three favorite things are taking walking adventures with her family, wedding cake snowballs and drawings and painting anything and everything that has to do with buildings.
Ana’s favorite quote is from St. Mother Teresa: “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”