Monday, August 29, 2011

Second Oregon run...

...and first one alone. I had just an hour before sundown tonight and I laced up the shoes I bought over a year ago, that ran me through cancer and my girls and long dark dryness. I headed out, and up a hill...  this fall, they will run me through new everything and stretching into adulthood and flashes of vocation. I ran, up, and up... Oregon is not flat like Illinois, that is for sure.

It's the same me in the same shoes, same body feeling the same heartbeat thudding, same rhythm of steps grounding me here, in this place, as it always does no matter where "this place" may be. But I ran on larger, darker coarsely packed stones and asphalt, not a sidewalk or the packed-dirt prairie path. I ran next to vineyards (vineyards!) lying at the feet of mountains covered in pine trees, past fenced-in fields of long wheat pointing to the sky, as their farms blinked at me in the distance.

I know how I feel when I run and so running lets me know differences. Tonight as my body fell into its familiar rhythm, I could see what has changed. Hills not path. Vineyards not trees, pines not Pleasantville houses. I ran alone... no Meghan, no Chet.

Other differences, too, I hadn't known yet. I ran and was surprised at a peace: certain anxieties I ran with in Wheaton the last months don't seem as at home in this new setting. And I ran and found the heaviness settled around my heart: loneliness.  I ran up a hill I've never run before, alone, and remembered: I love it here, but I don't have years of history, I don't have my community.

I ran and cursed Christy Schweigert's voice in my head, our last HNGR small group night, when we gave each other challenges for the next year: "Press into Jesus when you are lonely. Turn the alone time you're going to have to have there, into solitude with Him". I did HNGR!! Half of my best friends moved away last year!! I did that already!! I know about finding Jesus in solitude, okay, I already learned that lesson!! Because I have it so down at 23... I turned a corner and ran past another field, another farm. I stopped and stared at the huge Oregon sky, gray clouds turned golden and the sun setting behind evergreens, turning their tips into dark, towering, beautiful silhouettes.

I ran and breathed and was thankful for my body, for these hills, these vineyards, adulthood, vocation, community to long for in grateful love, community to anticipate and reach out to. Thankful for Christy's words, for my God who will meet me this season in ways I can't yet see.

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Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.