It was a Friday morning and all I wanted to do was stay in my bed under my warm sheets. I am not a morning person. I would not say that I am grumpy in the morning, I would just rather stay up late than get up early. In addition, things have been more challenging for me here after returning from my Christmas break and my sheets were providing a comfort that I did not want to leave. Unfortunately with my work schedule the only time for a track workout is the morning, so I have been forced to become more of a morning person than I ever thought I would be. So, I laid there in my bed and knew that if I did not make my way to the track on this dark, foggy, Oregon morning that I would regret it for the rest of the day. So, I got out of bed and quickly got ready as I had snoozed one too many times. I made my way to the school where the fog was so thick that I could not see the track.
After warming up, I began my first 600m repeat. I was not too happy with my time and was not encouraged by the thick fog, cold air, and air stagnation alerts that are to continue throughout the weekend. I was determined to improve my time for the next 600m. My next two times were slightly faster. As I began to get slightly frustrated with myself for not running the times that I had run last fall, I reminded myself of the obvious that I am still getting back into training and that I am coming back slowly. Progression is key.
After finishing 600m number three, I knew that I only had time for one more 600m before I had to head to work. Huffing with frozen air stagnation-lungs I made my way back to the start. The moment I put my foot on the start line, the fog began to rise as the sun came out. The immediate feeling that I felt was hope (no, not just for an improved 600 time) and my spirits began to rise. I stepped on the line with this feeling of hope and with a relaxed mind. I hit my watch and began my final 600m as the fog continued to rise and as the sun continued to break through the Oregon sky.
At my first step, a poem was being written in my head. With each step words built upon words from the step before. All I remember from this poem are the words: sun, hope, challenge, family, and friends. That is it. I know that words of encouragement, beautiful words, had been created yet I cannot remember them. I ran with a feeling of hope and happiness as the sun continued to shine through. I have never experienced anything like this before. Ever. I do not know where the words came from. All I know is that they were beautiful, encouraging, and that the experience was surreal. Crossing the finish line after this 600m I do remember the last phrase of the poem, “And you look up to the sun and realize that you really aren’t that far away after all.”
While missing home, there are no other words that I can imagine that would encourage me more. I looked up to the sun and I knew that friends and family back home were looking up to the same sun. I did my workout on this cold January morning and knew that people all over the world were doing their workouts at the same time as I was. I thought about just how small the world really is. There is one sun. One sun that gives light to us all. One sun that shines on the world. We are all connected. A light that shines in the United States, Togo, England, Chile, and Brazil. A light that allows plants to grow and people to see. There is just something about the sun that brightens our days, lifts our spirits, and gives us hope. It is a pick-me-up.
While in distance, I am many, many miles away from the comfortable, I am encouraged by the fact that the sun that shines in Oregon is the same sun that shines in Pennsylvania. And because of this, I feel so much closer to home.
After leaving the track still mesmerized by the experience, the realizations, and the thoughts that were now running through my head, I thought further about that last phrase that I remember as I crossed the finish line, “And you look up to the sun and realize that you really aren’t that far away after all.” My mind started going down a path. A path that had me thinking about how short our lives really are. I was reminded of how important it is to follow the direction that I believe God is calling me in. I do not want to go about trying to do my own thing when my real purpose, God’s plan, is not being fulfilled.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”- Matthew 5:14-16
I am reminded that I need to be a light of hope to others who may be struggling or who need a listening ear. My devotional for today that I read after returning home from the workout was entitled, “Prescribed by God to Make a Difference”. The Uncommon Key to think about was this: “Is the way you are living your life making a difference in someone else’s? Someone you wouldn’t readily gravitate to? There may be bigger things that Christ calls you to than what seems obvious.”
I am reminded that right now it is my time to make a difference and be a light of hope to someone who needs it.