On Saturday I plotted out a simple straight course (only two turns!) of around 3 miles. Today I woke up singing Matthew West’s song “My Own Little World.” The last time I ran to that CD (Story of Your Life) was in Harrisonburg.
The song asks, What if there’s a bigger picture? What if I’m missing out? What if there’s a greater purpose I could be living right now? Back then, I ran looking up at the beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains, past lovely, well-manicured homes, and tried to imagine my life in Jarabacoa…
So today, I ran here, listening to that same CD. Here, running is a bit of a challenge. My neighborhood is dirt roads, full of rocks and gouges. Once onto the main road, there’s a sidewalk, which is good. The rule of the road here is, bigger always has the right of way. Dodging trucks, cars, motorcycles all spewing exhaust makes road-running a tad hazardous!
But, the sidewalk is full of its own obstacles – today I passed 20 manholes (19/20 of them without the covers. I saw a Mythbusters episode once where they used a manhole cover as a makeshift tire. Hmmm)
I passed chickens and roosters, motos parked on the sidewalk, lots of people, a little boy (minus his pants), a dead mouse, a live mouse, dogs, garbage, and plenty of droppings – from all the stray dogs, but horses, too. I guess the horses, too, don’t fare well on the busy roads!
As I ran, I tried to look up as much as I could. Jarabacoa is called The Land of Eternal Spring. The weather is typically mild and spring-like all year round. The area surrounding Jarabacoa is simply gorgeous, filled with lush, tree-filled mountains. It’s a vacation area for Dominicans, a place to get away from the heat and congestion of the bigger cities.
Today the sky a little away from the city was bright blue with just a few clouds. The mountains were stunning with their various shades of green. I love mountains. They fill my soul with joy and awe at God’s creativity and majesty.
I wanted to look up, but beneath my feet, in my pathway, were all those obstacles. Without (frequent!) glimpses down, I ran (tee hee) the risk of putting a foot into a manhole or one of those doggie ‘gifts’!
It made me think about my work here. I want to look up, look up and out to my Source of strength. But, beneath my feet are so many pitfalls! How do I minister to those living in the mess, while keeping my focus on God? Is there a way?
In order to enjoy the beauty of the mountains, I’m going to have to slow down and walk. I can run for a while, stretching my muscles and exercising my heart. That’s a good thing. But, if I never slow down, I’m going to miss out.
I was called here to join in God’s work in El Callejon. I believe I need to work, and work hard. The Kingdom of God is worth all my energy and focus. But… if I never slow down, if I never take time to lift my eyes up from the muck… will I miss the whole reason I’m here?
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:1-4)
I pray that whatever obstacles are in your path today, you, too, take time to look up. Look up to the One who can help us negotiate the storms and challenges of our lives. The One whose Son came to run this course with us.
Trust in Him to keep your feet from slipping. Trust in Him to keep guard, to not sleep. Trust in Him to be our Help.
And now… time to see if my shower is ready!