Archive for the ‘Perseverance’ Category

The Darkness Will Not Be Dark
April 9, 2011

From James:

The other day, I saw So Young sitting at the piano, her face right up to the sheet music, trying to learn a new song. You have to understand that So Young doesn’t really play the piano. She took lessons as a kid, but she didn’t stick with it. Still, she is musical and plays the violin and guitar, so she can read music and has somehow retained just enough knowledge to attempt to play the piano once in a while. But she can barely see the sheet music now.

So she is sitting there, straining to read the notes to a song she’s never played on an instrument she doesn’t know that well. She’s playing slowly. Her fingers are on the wrong keys at first, and it doesn’t sound that great, so my immediate thought is, “She can’t do that. Why is she trying to do something she can’t do?”

I had to stop myself.

It occurred to me that she was doing exactly what she should be doing, and exactly what all of us should do. Like in so many other situations right now, she was doing more than what seemed possible and realistic, more than what was reasonable or expected.

Here’s a lady who can barely eat right now (a new development — she has lost her appetite), can barely get out of bed, but then goes out and runs a very slow 2 or 4 or 6 miles or more, straining against fatigue with “heavy legs,” training for a race that’s going to take place three months after radiation for a brain tumor. Here’s a lady who still cooks meals for the entire family, even though she needs help to measure ingredients and determine if the meat is fully cooked. (We eat sushi every night — intentionally it or not! That’s a joke.)

Last night she said that she has learned something about herself. Before all this, she was working hard on her own, pushing herself because she had something to prove — something about how she was strong enough, capable enough to handle life. She could do it on her own. Now she knows she can’t. Without a doubt, she says, she is running far beyond herself, and He is there with her.

Psalm 139:7-12 says:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

(I recommend reading the entire psalm. It’s worth it!)

Audrey "Playing" the Piano, 2005

Audrey “Playing” the Piano in 2005

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For By You I Can Run In The Night
March 27, 2011

From So Young:

The best runs are the really hard ones, where you just want to stop.  Your arms are pumping; the legs want to give out from under you.  It’s challenging. It’s sweaty, exhausting! I love it! Makes me feel alive. When it gets really difficult, I often find myself worshipful. I’ll start praying, and then just the right song comes up on my iPod.

This happened just yesterday, during my long run. I was running home after a 6 miler when Run In The Night from the latest Jars of Clay album came up. In no time, I was reduced to soft sobs and tears, as the lyrics pierced my heart with their meaning, especially as it feels like I’m sometimes running in the night.  What’s just around the corner? What’s up ahead in a mile or two? Who knows? Only the Lord knows and that makes me feel safe and secure.

Run In The Night  (Psalm 27)
by Jars of Clay

I know who I am
Once I was nameless, alone and You found me
You formed my knees to bend
You called me beloved
I am perfection

All my failures won’t condemn me
Or leave me paralyzed and bound
And when I’m at my worst
Your love, it finds me first
By You I can run in the night
For by You I can run in the night

For I am such a man
Seized by the power of a great affection
No matter where I am
Peace spreads below me in every direction

Hopeful Signs
February 14, 2011

From James:

On Saturday morning, So Young reported that she saw a “clear spot” in one of her eyes, a possible sign that the tumor is retreating. We promptly watched a movie at the theater that afternoon, while her brother Paul watched the girls. Yesterday, however, it returned to the way it was before. She compares it to “looking through fogged up glasses” all the time. Still, we expect the next few months to be a time of constant change with regard to her condition, as her body fights to regain ground.

Yesterday, So Young took her first run/walk outside since her vision loss became severe months ago. Actually, it was more of a “run/walk/trip,” as she says. I acted as her guide, a new role for me. Many times during races, we have seen blind runners — often young war veterans — running tethered to a sighted runner. They don’t generally hold hands, but that was our method. Before a curb, crack, or hole in the road, I would grab her hand and say “3-2-1 crack!” or what have you. She could sometimes see the obstacles and sometimes not. Once she told me that she could see most of the cracks. I stopped calling them out, and she promptly tripped. She didn’t hit the ground, and that was her only stumble in three miles.

We ran at twilight. I could see OK, but things are darker to her eyes.

“Most people wouldn’t run if they knew how dark it is for me,” she said. “But I’m stubborn. Full of pride.”

I told her that’s not pride. That’s perseverance.