Wednesday, March 7, 2012

a friend asked me what i do while running
two straight hours at the gym. and i told him
i count to 100 on every finger; over and over and over.
just to keep my mind busy. sometimes, i watch the
t.v.'s, hanging above us, but those channels are usually
not too entertaining.

Jesus, my Runner, beside me, is often planting thoughts
in my mind, too. about the runners around me. that NO one
really knows the next guy's problems. so i pray. one night,
i watched an older guy run until sweat was pouring...literally...
down his face and arms. his intensity commanded respect.
from anyone. everyone.

one night, when he finished, i stopped my run. introduced myself.
we shook hands. i applauded him. his push and momentum and single-
minded focus.

"well, my teenage son was killed a few months ago,
and this has been my way to work through my sorrow."

wow, losing one's son! i have four. every moment i think
of them. pray for them. silently cheer for them as i go through
my day. and here is a man who can never do that again.

"just for curiosity, do you push for a certain amount of calories,
or for distance?" i asked him. i don't even look at the calories.
distance is my war cry...yet, for him, it is all about calories.
when he hits a certain amount, game is over. challenge accom-
lished. he rubs his face and arms with a clean towel, nods good-
bye to me each night, and disappears down the stairs, and back
home to his shattering reality.

lonely people.
all around us.
sometimes they look so beautiful
and well-put-together. often, i've learned
in speaking with them, that the better they look,
the darker their demons.

i'm always trying to build bridges at the gym.
i was doing something different one night. working
on weights. facing the mirror. and i noticed this
lovely woman next to me, looking into the same mirror.
i was drawn to her.

"excuse me, but i want to tell you that i LOVE your tiny
boobs. this crazy world today makes women feel we aren't
good enough without them."

her face broke into a big smile.
"oh, thank you for telling me this. you have no idea
HOW much i've struggled over this. my husband tells me
he's happy with them, but i've been to two plastic surgeons
about enlarging my breasts, yet always come away without
the courage to follow through."

"well, i love them. never believe the lie that says
we are not enough. Jesus made us exactly as we are.
i confess i have alot of insecurities about myself, but i know
God loves creating beauty."

people whose lives are imploding, and
many of them have a very small support group.
Jesus places us right beside the most hurting ones
who are brilliant at covering their pain. but pain lives
in all of us. in different ways. trust me. count on it.
everyone is broken.

it's like a puzzle. trying to fit all the shapes into the
right places. that is what loving people to Jesus is all about.
this morning, i read 2 chronicles, 1:1-17. i want to be humble
and always seeking wisdom like solomon. let's try to keep our
lives intact.

i called jan, and began to read your comments about her
from the blog. she was feeling so down, so bless you,
thank you. with my head bowed. ann


RobMoritz said...

Ann, this ranks with the finest writing you've ever done. Profound insight into the reality of our shared human experience. Communicating at a heart level with those reading. Challenging us to see those around us on a deeper level thru spiritual eyes, and maybe touch their lives for the Lord.

Diane said...

I liked your point "usually the better they look, the darker the demons". Looks are deceiving. In my own life people would never know the struggles I face because I make myself look good on the outside - because that's all I have. But underneath that I face a painful illness with a painful reality. I know I'm not the only one. This is why I try to extend grace to people when they may have been rude or whatever because you never know what is going on in that person's life.

barb said...

"NO one really knows the next guy's problems"

I've never had children but I can't imagine what horrible pain it must be for that man to have lost his son.

"distance is my war cry"
really what life is about...making it to the finish line.

"the better they look the the darker their demons" Wow!

"i'm always trying to build bridges" Wow! I want to build bridges!

I think EVERYONE has insecurities about their body no matter what. "I know God loves creating beauty" .... great gentle reminder...especially concerning the body.

"Jesus places us right beside the most hurting ones
who are brilliant at covering their pain. but pain lives
in all of us. in different ways. trust me. count on it.
everyone is broken." Very true! You would think that would make us be more fragile with each other.

Since I'm a puzzle person I love the puzzle analogy and the war cry to try and keep our lives intact and the reminder to pray for God's wisdom.

Continued prayers for Jan with encouragement and lifted spirits.
Thanks again Ann for your no nonsense, simple, life giving, words of honesty and truth.

blessed! said...

i´ve been reading your blog the last few weeks. it has made me think about when i found your books as a young single woman. oh, how hard it was to be single around my married sisters and friends. it just wasn´t God´s will for me then. Your books made it so much easier. God kept promising me, i´m saving the best for last. He keeps His promises. now, at 53, happily married for 15 years, i smile to think that just a few short months ago i was standing on a bridge near my house shouting YES YES to the Lord, whatever you want! Yes. you put that word into my vocabulary with a whole new meaning...and it is still there. it is still not easy to be single in the church... your books are still important. God Bless You !

Mamakitty said...

Dear Ann,
I do love me some good time on that old treadmill... I do appreciate your being here online so much lately, it gives much encouragement. ALSO - I have a treat for you, one I go to when I need something fun and cheap to do. You may have seen it, "". Look for the yelping puppy today. Smile. And thanks again for the notes about Jan's cancer survival. Been there done that. Walking into Walmart four years later and the first thing my friend at the cash register said is "How's the cancer?" Whoa, really? I do have other things in my world. Whoa. Don't feel like you have to post this, just wanted to connect. Blessings. And thanks again. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, running for two hours,where do you get the energy? You must really love running! I ran in college and loved your book, I'm Running to Win. It motivated me.
I need to get into do you motivate yourself? You seem to crave a good workout. Does Jan like working out as well as you do?

God has given you such a love for people. Most people, including me would have just completed a workout and went on their way. You are still giving people hope and encouraging them to know Jesus. You haven't relented at all and just keep loving people. I remember a story in one of your first books when you were catching a flight out and was running late and somehow.....put the flight on hold for a few minutes while you ran back to the bathroom and took a lady a cold drink and sang her a song. I think she was planning to hurt herself. You were sensative to that situation and couldn't let her go, even if you had to hold up a plane. You encourage me to look at people in a differnt light and see past their initial looks. Your right everyone seems to be hurting and needing a listening ear or some encouragement in their lives.
Thanks for the reminder that there are hurting people everywhere and for being a good example to us.

mercygraceword said...

At our local homeless shelter and feeding program location they have that well known quote on the wall "Be kinder than necessary, everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." It's something I need to remember.

Love in Christ,