Heaven soars overhead, boundless and veiled, yet hovers among us. Between the steps of mortality and eternity, we tread guarded and obstructed. For some, the dream-seekers, the borrowers, the breakers, the restless, the sly, the resourceful, they mark the paths of those who dare stand still and wait. And at that line of unknown wonder, fear balks while hope barters. Which step wanders too far; which step lacks? Can the darkened path be the fitting choice, or must mankind’s small list of rules statute the sum? “This is how you do it,” we tell each other. “This is what you must not do,” we declare. And could we be wrong?
It’s taken a year, but I’ve worked my way up from fourteen minutes to twenty minutes, running sprints. Thirty seconds sprinting, thirty seconds walking and recovering. I’m not impressive or steadfast. I struggle. I’m soaked in sweat. At ten minutes I must rest an extra amount of time. At seventeen minutes I kinda feel like I could fall down dead. But.
My goal was to hit twenty minutes.
Today for the first time I attempted the full twenty minutes pushing my almost-three-year old in the stroller before me. Try that, yo. At one point I ran uphill. Rough stuff, yo. Almost gave up at that point. With the sun shredding my skin from above, sizzling boughs of needles burrowing into my skull, I pushed onward. One step at a time. Salty drops of contention dripped into my eyes, blinding me, while chunks of earth bounced into the heels of my sneakers, between my soft skin and cotton socks. Stupid tree litter. The road before me lay bare and blazing, mirroring the sun’s inferno at my stroller and me. Scanning the road, I noticed one side of the street fell in the shadows of the trees, while the sun rolled across the blue ether. The long shadows on the left side of the street taunted me, slashing through the slush of sunshine on the right side.
So folks, my little brain kicked into action, tapping me on the shoulder, and said, “Hey. Look up. Why don’t you go run in the shade?”
Thanks, brain. I think I’ll do that.
Sometimes the goal gets in the way. Sometimes tunnel vision wins out, and that poor little timid brain friend sits bashfully in his chair, afraid to speak out.
Go run in the shade.
On that course to achieving dreams or goals, sometimes if it seems too hard, it is. Let it be simpler. Relieve yourself of some stress. Oh, keep going. Surrender we do not. But go onward in the shade.
Some dreams will never see fruition. Some dreams must be let go. Some mature without us. Some dreams bow out of the scene with decorum, some blow out in a mortifying humiliation of a scene. Some are worth it all, regardless of the collateral.
For those dreams, the corridor extends into infinity, often limitless, often restricted, but always valuable. It may be challenging, it will be daunting, and it will provide moments of bliss. Above all, if some shade is available along the way, take advantage. Should it be all or nothing? Must you stay on the right side of the road?
As I fled for the shady, luxurious curb, I noticed my own shadow absorbing into the ones beneath me. There in the ghosting outline of the tree branches upon the road, darkness collaborated with itself, and the tree’s capability absolved mine.
I am a maker of missteps. I am a sayer of wrong words. I am a faulty, flickering flame. And I am also, always, a doer of incomparable actions, if I remain in the shadow of the Almighty.
“Live under the protection of God Most High and stay in the shadow of God All-Powerful. Then you will say to the Lord, ‘You are my fortress, my place of safety; you are my God, and I trust you.’ ... He will spread his wings over you and keep you secure. His faithfulness is like a shield” (Psalm 91:1-4).
Maybe some people on the outside see Christ-followers slipping and stumbling in this harrowing journey and doubt them. Maybe we feel the sweat and the blisters. Maybe we doubt ourselves. We ought to remember at all times the boundless power boiling within our fingertips. But that sunlight can be so bright, can’t it?
Even when your dreams are dying. Even when your dreams are developing. Even when your dreams have flourished. Heaven soars overhead, boundless and veiled, yet hovers among us.
Seek the shade. Go onward amidst the shadows. Be absolved. And be incomparable.
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