image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Though we lacked life experience, we were all savvy enough to know that a piano wasn’t going to fall from the sky on our beloved. Sometimes we walked, other times we ran, even skipped on occasion… until we discovered that it wasn’t cool for boys to “Skip-skip-skip-to-muh-loo, skip-skip-skip-to-muh-loo, skip-skip-skip-to-muh-loo, skip-to-muh-loo, my darlin'”.

One thing was a constant, we watched where we were going. It became such a habit as a kid that I’m still conscious of where I step when I’m walking. In majority, I don’t think there is a love on this physical planet that’s more special than that of a mother and child.

If mothers weren’t divinely important the Bible wouldn’t have so much detail about Mary, the physical mother of Jesus.

Although we heard the popular saying nonstop as children, it only took hearing it once to take it to heart, “Don’t step on the cracks or you’ll break your mother’s back.” I, along with every other kid in the city with sidewalks, that all have expansion joints tooled into them from the day they came into existence, avoided stepping on them at all costs.

Funny, even knowing there was no risk of really breaking our mother’s back, we landed between those lines in the sidewalks with reverence to the one who was rarely present during our walks to and from school.

The children’s rhyme is so ingrained into our society that the ritual of avoiding stepping on the sidewalk cracks continues with the little ones to this day. When our youngest was bound to a car seat and barely able to talk, she’d remind her older sister about the dangers in this life when she was getting dropped off at school;

“Mmmmkwah!” she’d make a kissing sound to her big sister and add, “Luv you, Ali – don’t step on duh kwacks!”

As I was walking through a concrete colonnade a few weeks back the distance of my strides matched perfectly within the tooled sections of concrete. The pattern in the concrete changed and my left foot was readying to step dead center of a sidewalk crack. Without thinking, I stretched my stride to clear the crack.

Peculiar how rituals start with the proper attitude or desire, especially the ones that start with a pure heart and love. With time, we learn to talk the talk, but not necessarily walk the walk. Following rules or laws doesn’t begin to reveal the position of our hearts.

Right after I made a point to not step on the sidewalk cracks, I thought to myself how ridiculous that silly children’s ritual is… the thought of my mom or the condition of her back was an afterthought.

I think it’s that way for many of us as Christians; we trade our passion for a self-imposed list of do’s and don’t’s and before long we struggle to remember the purpose and inspiration of our original actions.

For the record, avoiding those sidewalk cracks didn’t do anything for my own aching back either…