“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them…” (Luke 24:13-15)

As a some-time walker, I have always loved the Emmaus Road vignette, and enjoyed that moment of realisation when the two walkers are talking about Jesus while pacing along, only to discover at journey’s end that He was an active companion on the way. Cleopas and his companion begin their walk in the depths of despair and end with unexpected joy.

It has been a month of walks for me. This month, to mark the loss of their son/our grandson, my son and daughter-in-law began the sponsored 100km September walk with their dog, Archie, to raise funds for SANDS. On the 13th – which should have been Peter’s first birthday – we walked together as a family. On the 16th I walked twelve miles on my own as part of Alzheimer Scotland’s sponsored ‘Memory Walk’, remembering my dad who passed away two summers ago. Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer’s stripped his memory and identity and bodily control. He even forgot how to walk. Ultimately his body forgot how to live.

Two walks. Begun in despair. Over paths marked by tearstains.

Two walks. Begun in despair. Over paths still marked by tearstains. Two walks with journey’s end beyond seeing and with joy yet unreached. Yet two walks in which I have become aware I am not walking alone. There have been no dramatic revelations, but in the journey each day there has been a deep awareness of Jesus Himself coming up and walking with me. And all will be well.

Over the course of my ‘Memory Walk’ I encountered a dozen other Memory Walkers, each telling stories of their losses as they walked, some so very raw and fresh. The simple companionship and the act of sharing and hearing one another’s stories lightened our steps. One woman stood out for me as I hope I also stood out for her. Walking with her daughter and her dog and two “friends from my Church,” we each recognised Jesus walking with the other.

Whatever your walk right now, may you know Jesus coming near and walking with you.