Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | October 17, 2011

Walk Around the World

Jean Béliveau returned home after eleven long years, concluding a remarkable 46-thousand-mile journey around the world — on foot! Seeking to escape the pain of losing his small business, Béliveau decided to run around the world. He set off on his great adventure at 9:00 AM on August 18, 2000, his 45th birthday. Béliveau ran all the way from his Montreal home to Atlanta, Georgia. After arriving in Atlanta, he slowed his pace and decided to walk the rest of the way around the world, a journey that would take him across 64 countries. Pushing a three-wheeled stroller containing a tent, sleeping bag, clothing, and a First Aid kit, Béliveau traveled with little or no money, depending instead on the kindness of those he met along the way to sustain him. And, he turned his pain into purpose by walking to promote peace and non-violence for the children of the world.

Béliveau’s journey is nothing short of remarkable. He walked across crowded urban areas and long stretches of lonely miles, across deserts and mountains, through all types of weather. Along the way he met thousands from among the world’s nations, tribes, peoples, and languages. As a result, Béliveau came home with a better understanding of the folks who share our planet and more determined than ever to be an ambassador for peace. He understands that “we may never have peace but if we take one step forward, and then another” he thinks “we can create a better world together.” Idealistic? Perhaps. But, at the core, I think he is right. Promoting better understanding among the peoples of the world must begin by taking intentional steps toward others so that we must look them in the face and notice the color of their eyes.

I think it’s a good thing that Béliveau decided to walk instead of to run. One of the things I often have to remind myself to do is to walk slowly among the people, just like Jesus. Walking slowly among the people makes it easier for us to develop peripheral compassion and to notice the things that are happening to our right and to our left, in the blurry shadows of our peripheral vision. Walking slowly makes it much easier for us to see those who are hurting or in need and to hear their desperate cries. Only then are we more likely to respond in a compassionate and timely way with the balm of love and encouragement that can make all the difference in a hurting person’s life. I don’t know whether Béliveau is a Christ-follower, but I do believe that Christ-followers can learn from him by walking slowly and intentionally among the people. Consider slowing down a bit in order to notice and to get to know the people in your world.


Responses

  1. Wow. What an adventure. Difficult to truly imagine taking those steps and walking in his shoes.

  2. What an amazing journey, I would love to hear the stories tucked in his heart. I’ve come to realize through lots of prayer that God doesn’t just want me to help the people but to know the people. When that was placed on my heart – well, it was a game changer. That will certainly require more walking and less running in multiple areas of my life. Thanks for sharing

    • Good word, Eva. I love the way you phrased it … to go beyond helping people to knowing people. That is indeed a game changer. Thanks.

  3. The last paragraph of your blog on Beliveau really spoke to me. Dick and I come across lots of people in all of our running from one place to another, but seldom get to know those people. I’m going to try getting to know some “intentionally” this week.

    • Good word, Marcia. Thanks for sharing.


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