5:45 is very early, dontcha know?
It's not so early anymore that there is no light, and that makes running much more pleasant, as does running the Shoreline Trail. I miss it so much when it's wet and soggy. I went a few months without setting foot on the trail, but I seem not to be able to miss a week (or even a few days if I have my choice) anymore.
There's a short and narrow path about a mile from the trailhead, up a fairly steep incline, that leads to an overlook. I've been stopping there lately, breathing deeply, taking in the valley below me: the refineries and gravel pits (uhhgly), the train tracks and airport (interesting) and the trees, mountains, clouds, and lake (gorgeous.) I think about the mass of humanity waking under my feet, the worries, joys, sufferings, and delights experienced by each soul in the reach of my glance. It's a perspective I cherish. It reminds me that as enormous as the pains we suffer can be, when seen from a distance they seem manageable. Hard, yes, but manageable.
There have been some giant rifts in our family in the last year: rifts so vast that my perspective couldn't grasp how we would ever bridge them, how they could ever be manageable. The damage hammered me to the ground, as fragile as I already was from so many other losses. I wept bitterly, I questioned, I yelled and screamed and wept some more. I'm ashamed to admit that I allowed the bitterness to seep into my bones, that I allowed my mind to sit, to dwell, to scratch at the wounds.
In the middle of the torment, I ended up asking for help from a few different sources. I had friends who allowed me to use them as sounding boards. I went to the temple. And finally I ended up getting some help from a psychologist. These were all helpful in their own way, and I found myself managing daily life pretty well, even though daily life was pretty much lacking the shine and glow of days past.
But here's the miracle. After the flood, the miserable, horrible, happiness-quenching flood, beginning maybe all the way back at the move, maybe even further back than that, all the colors are coming out. And they're something else, let me tell you.
How has it happened for me? Quite honestly, through grace. But the grace I've accessed is in DIRECT correlation to my search for gratitude. The more grateful I am, the more I'm finding to be grateful for. And the more I'm grateful for, the more gorgeous this life is turning out to be.
I ran on this morning after hitting the lookout, back down the trail, through the neighborhood and hills that have become part of me. I put on my iPod, hit random, and ran. And ran. And ran.
And reveled in the colors. In the clouds. In the light. In the peace.
Because here's the miracle. AFTER I found the joy in life all on my own, AFTER I lost my bitterness, AFTER I turned my feelings over to God, AFTER...
the bridges started to be built.
And not slowly, either. Like Amazing Home (or Bridge) Makeover fast.
God is good. He can lift us up to places to overlook our lives, to see the uhhgly with the gorgeous, and to be grateful for all of it. And even if the bridges are never built (but I tell you, they ARE being built!), the truest miracle is our strengthened, thankful hearts.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.