Saturday, July 4, 2015

Refuge

I grew up in Kansas. Which means tornadoes. I hate tornadoes.

One stormy night, my dad rushed into my bedroom and swooped me out of my bed. Our family made a mad dash to the neighbor's house - the only home in our community with a basement. Hunkered down in the dank dark basement, we waited. All the while the whipping howling wind ripped through our small town. The minutes seemed like hours and the hours like days. We waited for the darkness to pass, for the light to come.

That's how I feel sometimes. Waiting for it to be over. I go down. I stoop low. I cover my head and I tremble.

My heart pounds...

...waiting for it to end. Waiting for the sun to come out.

I am that petrified little girl cowering in the basement.

"Is it over", I squeak? "Can I come out now", I whisper?

The problem with being in the basement is that you can't see what's going on outside. There is no way to tell if the darkness has passed. Is it safe to come out? Ever so cautiously someone climbs the stairs to peer outside. Do you do that? I do. In the midst of a difficult time I'm hesitant to go outside. I want to be sure it's completely over before I venture out again. It's not safe out there I tell myself. I'll wait inside until I'm sure it's over.

When life smacks you in the face and you have to hunker down and wait, everything goes dark. Vision is hindered and fear creeps in. When will it end? When will it be safe?

But the thing about life is that the storm never really ends.

Spend some time on this earth and you begin to realize it's not about getting over the storms. It's about weathering them. 

I tend to hide, I'm not so good at weathering.

Back in the basement we notice the sirens have stopped. It's over. But, the crackling transistor radio warns caution even in the midst of the aftermath. It's a mess out there...be careful.

It never really goes away - the threats, the suffering, the fear, and imminent danger. You don't know what's around the corner, what's developing on the radar. Have you lost a loved one? Has your marriage fallen apart? Did you lose your job, your health, your savings?

I've come to know suffering and difficulty more than I care to. And the more I know about it the less I can explain it. More questions than answers.

My husband encourages me...

...trust God.


I say it a lot these days - it's not so much that I'm trusting God as it is God's loving me. He hangs on in the middle of life's storms - he knows my palms are sweaty and my hand is slipping.

In the midst I think I hear a sound.

It's hard to make out...

...but it sounds like refuge.




Friday, July 3, 2015

Help For When I Am Weak




We're all just walking each other home.” 
― Ram Dass



One of my favorite distractions while I'm running is people-watching. I love to see others out walking their dog, taking a stroll, or cycling. It's a human connection I guess.

I see them almost every evening. The sweetest elderly couple, side by side. They walk, and they talk...

...and they encourage.

Her with those neon shoes and him with his white v-neck tee. They don't stop, regardless of how they might be feeling. I am sure at their age there are more bones creaking and muscles aching, but they keep on going...

...and encouraging.
I notice their smiles first. When I get close enough they do things like fist pumps and thumbs up and cheer. All the while, they're smiling. Although they're probably in their eighties and weaker and more fragile than ever, they encourage me. I'm usually wearing headphones so it's hard to make out what they say each time, but I imagine them shouting "Good job! You're looking good! Go, go, go!" I always get a second wind after that, and wonder if their walk is just an opportunity to encourage others.

I have a friend. She's from Kansas too. 

She's a great teacher and it's no wonder her kids scored the highest this year. 


She is an incessant encourager. It doesn't matter what it is, she always has encouraging words for me. We were at the beach the other day and I felt like a swimsuit model. She said I looked "amaaazing." Of course, in my mind I am. 


She also encouraged my writing. She helped me gain some focus with exciting and energizing ideas. She challenged me to set a goal by offering tons of complimentary reassurances. She even volunteered to cheer me on (read: hold me accountable). She is officially my Chief Kickstarter...

I'm so grateful for all this fist pumping, and not just because I believe it's something we all need, but because I've felt weak this past year.

My bff and my running encouragers have both steadied me a bit...

...bolstered my wobbly legs.

I think God is like that. I imagine him at the finish line, towel around his neck, pumping his fists at me. With my ear buds on I make believe he's cheering and shouting, "Well done Lori, you are good and you've been faithful. I knew it all along!"

Come to think of it, it's not make believe at all...

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 
- Matt. 25:21