Tag Archives: faith

today: rainy run musing

Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

-Mary Oliver

Saturday morning and hours before the alarm wakes me flashes of white and rumblings of sky. Months of drought mean that I wake fully at 4 am before recognizing this: it rains. Return to sleep then the alarm rings at 7; there are photos to create. But with the rain, the sky greyed. A text to client to reschedule, but in the early I am wide awake.

Breakfast with coffee and prayers. I lace up my runners then I drag the dog on a drizzly walk. All summer long we survive our morning routine: I sweat; she pants. The rain, so wanted and so needed, she hates it. We return home. The dog runs crazy through the apartment then slumbers beside my desk. I grab a water bottle, blast Pandora through my i-Phone as I strap it to my arm and head out the door.

It drizzles still, and it is August, and in a summer that we’ve had many days over a hundred and severe drought, 75 degrees feels like grace massaging weariness out of my bones. I run hard, muddying shoes and drenching shirt- with rain and sweat cooling skin. I’m smiling, and it’s been months since a run produced a smile during my efforts. I double the length of typical pre-photo session Saturday run, and I feel I am in the presence of God alone.

My mind wanders to the words the writer of Hebrews penned in the New Testament: she urges that we seek level paths for our feet so that what is lame might not be put out of joint. I ponder those words. I have been busy and short-tempered, and my dad has been sick, and I have lacked patience, perspective, grace. I am broken. And yet mornings like this are healing: I rediscover a level path for my feet, literally, yes but in the work of my run and the cool of the air, my heart craves the God whose kindness leads to repentance.

A long few weeks, and I consider something Hebrews alludes to. Healing is often participatory. “Use it or lose it,” my boyfriend tells people when urging them towards a healthier lifestyle and better fitness. A lame foot unused will never regain strength. And sometimes there are moments of big dramatic miracles and wholeness comes instantaneously. Oftentimes, though, healing and the return to wholeness is a process. And that’s beautiful, because trust is required and that trust transforms not just what is broken but also the character of the one being healed.

This morning I return from my run, feeling muscles and reminded that they work. The rain slows by the time I finish, but the air remains cool. I settle into the rest of my day wide-eyed and hopeful, aware of a good God who ran with me this morning and awakened, once again, to faith. And to think I was just excited about the possibility of a long run in the rain…

God’s intention? To return me to patience, to perspective, to grace.

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tonight: the end. is not the end.

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
-C.S. Lewis

it’s the not yet part of now that catches up
yanking hard breath out of lungs
if feet don’t ever recommit to finding way to ground(edness)
on days unexpected or hard
it’s the not yet part of now that
infuriates and frustrates and vacates wonder
if left to it’s own or allowed a full stop
on days when harsh words slip and kindness slumbers
when disease destroys and healing falters
when brokenness shatters that which seemed to be getting better
it’s the not yet part of now that wearies
but
now, hope
now, faith
now, love
now, grace
now, circumstances do not define
now, heart, please constantly realign
because this dim glass is not all
this now holds the reality of this whisper, this call
we hold hope open-handed now, a kingdom we stand in, full
and enthralled, this promise: now and not yet
the end. is not the end.

tonight: a week wherein weak

“The days here are simple, and I keep looking.
Blessings can be shy things, coming in disguise.”

-Ann Voskamp

Stories to tell and words to process. In due time, I suppose, for my days find themselves as full as my mother’s bookshelves, and they overflow with stacks of worn pages just like hers: God and people and photographs and wonder and miles and curiosity and love and travel and words and books and hunger and… well, time eludes.

a week wherein weak and
oh aware: i need, i need, i need
and oh the invitation: breathe.
staunch in desire, flight away and then
horizon and oh i see
this: hands guiding and hearts hearing
and lips praying and healing, oh there is healing
a week wherein reprieved and
oh there: stare, stare, stare
silent in wonder, flight away and then
across from long-distance friend in an rv (of all places)
i see this: faithful to the story written
before a word was on my tongue
before then? already free?
promised. yes, indeed.
oh aware: be, be, be
loved and wanted and gift and given
and hungry, ever hungry for more, more, more
a week wherein weak
but oh, i see this:
dim glass, light filtering and suddenly, beautifully:
clearly seen.

tonight: this I know.

sturdy, steady, still
deep rooted in
surety of a better promise: life
real.
silent, surrendered, sometimes
deep seeded questions
surety of a better promise: doubt
does not negate hope
so peace abounds
real.
rooted in grace, standing here,
empty and so somehow
filled.

today: flowers out

“The water soaks into the earth and I watch it go. Water in, flowers out, miracle there on the porch.”
Ann Voskamp p79, One Thousand Gifts

Last night, two overtired bodies, we went to dinner and the store. Food for that moment and the next day, required duties at hand. We ate; we bought. We returned to my apartment, and he helped me put groceries away. We didn’t even walk the dog, and by 9 o’clock, we sat down to pray. I hunched my elbows over my knees and dropped my head. He draped one arm around my shoulder, using his other arm to prop his head. We did something I am learning to do, thanks to Ann in the masterpiece quoted at the top of this post. We thanked God for the gift of restful sleep- a gift insomnia robs me of often and him of recently- and then we asked God to grant us each a full night’s sleep.

Ann feels like a friend as I’m working my way through her book, rereading chapters and underlining nearly a third of the content. She says thanks always precedes a miracle, over and over again. She refers to Jesus feeding the 5000. Jesus gave thanks and broke the bread and then the multitudes were fed. He does the same thing at the Last Supper, gives thanks and then breaks bread. And then he goes to that cross and dies, to be resurrected. Water in; flowers out.

We thanked God for the gift of restful sleep, and after that he went home to iron his shirt for work and to try to sleep. And then he slept. All night. I did too.

It’s not that Ann writes a formula in her book when she says thanks always precedes the miraculous- even when there’s nothing to make something out of. It’s that she writes to cultivate a thankful heart; she coaches her reader on how to see. This may seem simple, but it is utterly revolutionizing me. That’s not even an exaggeration. I so, so, so need and want and hunger to see. Thankfully.

tonight: when.

“love wins.”
-Rob Bell

when it’s all said and done,
i hope i lived as the kind of girl
who erred on the side of wonder and beauty
on the side of grace and reprieve
who forgave relentlessly
who lived thankfully.
when it’s all said and done,
maybe that’s the mirror
reflecting a better Way
a more real world
a whispered to child: believe. this. mystery.
(love.)
thankfully.

tonight: retracing steps

Northern Ireland, 2005

retracing steps, remembering
in a dance across photographs made and pages written
since the threshold crossed into adulthood
(though rarely does that identity seem important)
except the innocence of this face, then, before
went out and saw and tasted, unknowing
that she stepped onto a foundation built in going
(and never is this identity unimportant)
that she found not so much concrete on which to stand
but faith, both supple and sturdy
freeing, hopeful, redeeming faith
retracing steps, remembering