I don’t miss working out for much. I know that looking at me you might not know this. However, since my cancer 7 years ago, I have been committed to moving my body in some way every single day. I usually start my day in the basement on the treadmill or the bike. It requires me to get up at 5:00 a.m. but taking care of myself is that important to me. I have been given more time and I don’t take that gift lightly. However, Monday when my alarm went off bright and early I wasn’t quite ready to jump up and get moving. (I move even slower in the morning than usual…it takes my bionic knee a bit to warm up. I keep trying to convince the doc to give me a shot of WD 40, but so far she will not cooperate with my revolutionary idea.)
To give myself another minute, and to get my brain functioning I checked Facebook, from my phone, while still in my bed. This is not a regular occurrence, but on this morning I just ‘happened’ to check. My notifications were lit up with a bright little 11, and I had a 1 on my message folder. Curiosity and procrastination conspired together and convinced me that checking to see what in the world caused so many comments was far more important than my workout. Turns out they were right. The message was from Hannah, and after a week of no contact it was like a breath of fresh air to hear from her that India is just what she had expected, hot, stinky, and beautiful. The rest of the activity was blogs from her teammates and comments from their parents and pictures of their spot in the remote parts of India. (The pictures I am referring to, and the ones in this blog where taken by Hannah’s team leader Rebecca Leigh.) Suddenly I was wide awake and my feet were on the floor headed to my computer so I could sit and soak up the information and images on a bigger screen. It felt like Christmas and a birthday all rolled into one and it was well worth the sacrifice of my workout.
When Hannah left for the World Race I knew it would be a challenge for both of us. She would be on the front lines of living without water, electricity, or operational toilets. She would be eating who knows what, and sleeping who knows where. I, on the other hand, would be watching her do those things from a very long distance. I was to be an observer… with skeletal information at best. The first three months that is exactly what happened…or so I thought. I thought the information I was receiving was limited, and I guess in comparison to being able to talk to her whenever I wanted it was. However, my definition of limited has changed somewhat as she entered the black hole of India. Funny how our ideas change based on our experiences isn’t it?
This month she is in a place with squatty potties, and bucket showers. She is eating rice and curry for every meal. She is sweltering in a tent to avoid malaria infested mosquitos. She is walking from village to village praying with the throngs of people who come out to greet them. She is finding monkeys are as common as squirrels in India. At the same time she loves on orphans who live at the church where she is staying. She is sharing her heart with those who attend nightly meetings to ‘see the Americans.’ She is doing what she went there to do…loving people and sharing grace.
Back home, I am sitting in the darkness of non-existent internet. The brief moment on Monday morning is a rarity…a gift really. The majority of the time I cannot see anything. I cannot hear how she is fairing, or if she is struggling. I cannot see her face, or hear her voice and I am finding that to be a struggle. Not a woe-is-me struggle…more of an I-thought-I-was-ready-for-this struggle. At launch they talked about abandonment and brokenness as part of the process the Racers would go through. What I don’t think I realized is that when Hannah abandoned her daily life for this journey that would include me. Not that she has abandoned me exactly…but in abandoning her comfort zone, she walked away from all that makes her comfortable. I am included in that. Now, in month 4, that reality is kicking me between the eyes. In her abandonment I am finding my own brokenness of heart. Add to that the fact that my everyday life has joined in the conspiracy of crushing me and I am in the perfect spot for growth if I can walk through the pain of it. How to do that is the issue.
One thing I have learned about myself is that I am a creature of habit. I will do the same things over and over whether they are bad for me or good for me. In this case I know what I must do. I have to go to the Secret Place. It is the place in the presence of God where I can just be. No expectations. No words. Nothing. Just rest in his love for me and soak it up. To get there my heart has to be broken and humbled. My mind has to let go of all the what ifs. This quiet state is my secret weapon when life is tough. In the Secret Place the worry and questions fade away…the circumstances of my life do not change…but my heart towards them does. Peace is the result of my visit here. Rest, and calm find their way into my heart…and sometimes wisdom too. It is the deep well that I run to when I am spent and hurting. Today I go there, and on my way, before I enter into the silence, I pray that Racers in India and around the world will find the Secret Place too.