You guys, I RAN! Today!
In the middle of my two-mile walk to the end of picturesque Cherry Lane, I picked up my sneakered feet and started running! And kept on running!
A whole Quarter Mile. I heard the (albeit slow) plod-plod-plod-plod pace of my jogging on the gravely pavement, the huffing of my own hot breath, the wind in my ears and I got all out-of-breath and laughed and ran a little more!
And seriously, with each step I thought of you dear people who helped, prayed, served, cooked, cared, loved me back from the brink of death and the helplessness of my brokenness.
I saw your faces, heard your words – loved you back with my little jogging spurt as best as I could.
Because I am not a miracle of my own strength. I am a graced girl, loved healthy by a community who cared, by individuals who, by their own choice, became the hands and feet of the incarnation of the grace-giver of life and love himself, Jesus.
I am living, breathing, JOGGING proof of the culmination and collaboration of hundreds of people cooking dozens of meals, praying thousands of prayers, giving gift-cards and cash and paying bills and having fund-raisers and delivering coffees, and making oatmeal and folding clothes and driving my kid to piano and snuggling my baby boy in the night when we were in surgery, and fixing faucets and fences and building ramps and finding a wheelchair, and buying Christmas gifts and flowers and never letting me forget that we are, none of us, facing a mountain alone.
Grace in a million ways, and I see your faces and my heart sings a song to the rhythm of my feet and I.Am.So.Grateful.
And I arrived home from my walking/jogging celebration of spring and sunshine and new life and cried in the sunshine clutching my water bottle as if it were an award, like an Oscar or something, and I wanted to cheer and shout and make a speech and wave at crowds.
But it was just me in the yard and a car driving by and the corgis at my feet and a bird or two squawking at the feeder. I was alone, but not alone.
No matter where I go, you are always with me, a part of me. You have nourished me on your prayers and good cooking, upheld me in encouragement, fortified me with faith—you are my miracle story.
And I love you.
I need you.
I will always rely on the gifts of mercy you gave to me. My circle of grace grew from my small family praying “help!” in a shattered mini-van, to a bigger group of first-responders, to the EMTs and surgeons and nurses, to the community of friends and families and churches in our town, to people praying across the globe – and this circle is expansive and beautiful and gives me life every day.
I nearly died, and what YOU GAVE ME, what God showed me through this incarnation of his perpetual grace through humans who love like Jesus loves is better than any vision of angels or heavenly gates, better than any “visit to heaven” ever, ever could be.
You proved heaven to me. You are the face of its grace and love and kindness, the insistence of its goodness, the surprise of its redemption, the hope of full recovery for all of us broken, earth-dwellers.
There are times we stand firm, there are times we wait and not grow weary. There are times we run races and times, like this sun-soaked morning, that we soar.
My feet my plod pavement, but my heart is flying friends, FLYING.
You may be at the base of a large mountain, in bed with pain, hurting from rejection, confused, despondent, angry, lost…you are not alone. You are in a circle of grace that begins with the love and perfect grace of Jesus. Open your arms and heart to the bigger circles, would you, dear? Let others meet you, hear you, hold your hand, walk this path with you. Let us. There will be the crawling and walking stages, but you will run free in your heart with God’s love in you.