In September, when Richard began radiation, he started going to the gym in the mornings to keep his energy up. I was silently resentful for a few days. This change in routine meant that I had to get up early to walk Grace each morning. I love my sleep. Getting up on time is NOT my strong suit. Eventually, I decided that if I had to get up early, I should make the most of the time. Grace and I began jogging. We started slowly – run one minute, walk two minutes, repeat. Well, I started slowly. Grace was ready for a six minute mile from day one. Yesterday, some three months later, we completed our fortieth run together and today I ran my second ever 5K. I am not a runner. But the crisp morning air has been good for me these last few months. As my feet pound and my legs ache, I give thanks for life and for the ability to run.
It is odd how the deepest gratitude and joy so often spring forth from the most terrifying and challenging situations. But then again, maybe that is just how life works. This semester followed on the heals of a rigorous school year fraught with anxiety and a summer heavy with fear and medical crisis. In the wake of such a year, the last few months have been the birth place of much gratitude, joy, and peace. Underneath the layers of everyday annoyances, tasks, and bustle, my soul is dancing. Some days it is a slow swaying within my core, but some days the energy is too much to be held inside. And so, I dance. I sing. I run.
In this season of joy and energy I have been leaning in. Leaning into my relationships, my classes, my internship work, and myself. I have enjoyed Wednesday coffee dates with a recent VTS graduate who is now working at a large parish in Alexandria. Together we dream about the Church that could be. I have looked forward to Tuesday dinners with our neighbors where we share simple food and the stories of our lives. I have relished time with Richard where we explore new restaurants and walk familiar paths with Grace. I have agonized over sermons and systematic theology papers in an effort to find just the right way to articulate my understanding of God. I have savored Monday night classes on the Gospel of Mark culminating in a two-hour performance last week. I have delighted in many hours on the floor with children sharing Bible stories and wondering together about what it all means. I have dug into numerous sessions of therapy and spiritual direction in order to uncover and bring forth the best version of myself. I have toasted at weddings, held new born babies, and taken food to those mourning the loss of a child.
Much has happened since the semester began in early September, even more since that hot day in July 2016 when we left Charlotte in the rearview. But as I slipped my final paper under the door of the Field Education office this week, it seemed like just yesterday that we were arriving on campus, cars pack to the roofs, to begin this journey. Today is the halfway mark: three semesters completed, three semesters to go. And time keeps running along.
Photo Credit: Richard Allred