Inspired To Walk

A poem about the blessings of being together on the road

December 07, 2021 | Be Inspired


Unbound expresses its mission as “walking with the poor and marginalized of the world.” That phrase, which has been the focus of much reflection lately as the organization celebrates its 40th anniversary, captured the imagination of David Freeman, a staff member at Unbound’s Kansas City headquarters.

David recently composed “The Walk,” a poem about Unbound’s legacy of walking alongside those in need.

“I’ve always wanted to serve a global humanitarian effort and Unbound kept on popping up as I was serving amazing nonprofits,” David said of his decision to join the organization. “Once I got to know the mission more deeply, I was moved to see how I could contribute.”

By David Freeman

A walk is a baby’s first steps, the milestone of forward progress.
Steady feet on the road to success.
A walk is a stroll to the soccer park for family fun.
Happy hands that hold safety and freedom.
A walk is a trip to the marketplace’s colors, sounds and tastes.
Vibrant faces of a community in full display.
A walk is a race across the stage to a student’s eager relief.
Tireless belief in a brighter, better day.
A walk is a stride to the altar, both enraptured and unfazed.
Pride and promise in an unbroken gaze.
A walk is a pass of seasons through crossroads, intersections and connections.
Accumulating steps of wisdom and fresh perspectives.
A walk is a wheel of hellos, call backs, returns and goodbyes.
Insights and impacts discerned over a life.
Ask Alberto about his walk.
He will show you a bountiful field.
Ask Teresa about her walk.
She will show you a beautiful river.
Ask Carmen about her walk.
She will show you a boundless forest.
Ask Rosa about her walk.
She will show you a blessed mill.
Ask Jake about his walk.
He will paint the canvas of Kansas.
Ask Bob about his walk.
He will sing songs that span countries.
These pathways are simply breathtaking.
Make no mistake. They’re painstaking.

There are invisible borders and lost souls still in shadows.
Monsters of poverty, conflict, desperation and exploitation lying in wait.
Dead systems, social orders, and institutions only wanting to imprison.
Blockades, routs, and missteps of unresolved hate, doubts and duress.
These are the stresses and heavy tolls of the road.
Yet, these roads hold so much more.
They’re paved from cultural celebrations, personal cultivations and history in the making.
They carry clarion calls to higher cause.
Miles long commitment and compassion to the most deserving people.
Children, elders, and families around the globe.
These are breathing, brilliant, and bold profiles of grit, grace, sincerity, joy and embrace.
Their legacy is a solidarity that transcends boundaries,
the manifest greatness of the voiceless, and for those willing to listen and learn,
an invitation to share even better horizons.

Please remember we do not walk alone. We walk side-by-side for the long haul.
And what is a walk but an open door into a lifetime?
Look at Albert, Teresa, Carmen and Rosa.
See how the outpouring of hope changed their lifelines.
Look at Jake’s trek across a state.
See how a son’s faith blossomed following a path his father designed.
Look at the command Bob’s pilgrimages inspired.
See how he aspired for a transformed land where all our stars align.
These are journeys from power to love.
Natural, unhurried, ever-expanding, constant and in rhythm with the vision for life.
What is in a walk is a joyful call and heartfelt response.
Has someone moved you and will you move with them?
Listen, the spirit of movement is simply a survey of the ground.
To share in those footsteps is what it means to be unbound.

Read about the historic solidarity walks by Unbound co-founder Bob Hentzen and Bob’s son and staff member Jake Hentzen, both of which are referenced in the poem.