I love the adventure of going on early morning runs when we visit new places; exploring and surrendering to the unknowns of wherever the new path leads. Except, when I don’t.
Today, here at the lodge near Mt. St. Helens, I woke up before the sun, tied my shoe laces and smiled as the crisp northern air hit my Florida sun kissed face. I breathed in deep the refreshment, paused to look left then right and hit the ground running. First I did a nice warm up lap around the lodge and then ended up here…in.the.parking.lot...hmmm…
I was nervous to run down the mountain for fear of the run back up being too strenuous. I was nervous to take any of the trails because the milage wasn’t marked and I didn’t want to keep Ted and the kids waiting too long for breakfast. So the parking lot seemed like my best choice, the safest choice.
I resigned to zig zag up and down the white striped asphalt expanse. I was fairly content listening to music, not caring about what else could be out there around the corner. Just going.
It took the writing on the ground to ‘wake me up’ to crave something more: STOP. And I did just that.
Paused - I looked up and from the top of the parking lot I could barely see the sun rising past the lodge. And curiosity began to lead my feet. As I winded down the pebbled path first I saw the sweetest little blue flowers tucked away in the tall grass.
The hills were rolling as the path weaved in and out of gorgeous trees.
With the lodge at my back, about half way down the mountain, there it was. The gold meeting the horizon, the rays bursting through the morning grey sky greeting ‘good morning’ to the world. All of this beauty culminating over the majestic Columbia River Gorge. The colors waking up and growing in intensity, mirroring my soul coming alive in a fresh way inside.
To think I was content running circles in a parking lot when all this grandeur was just a few steps away. I was reminded of the CS Lewis quote, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
I kept thinking about this as I ran, discovering beautiful surprises around each turn. How often do I choose the safety of the familiar, the expected and the predictable? How often am I far too easily pleased? How often am I content with less when the Creator of the universe is inviting me, you, all of us into something so much more - would we just trust Him; would we let our curiosity win over our caution?
Sometimes it’s an intentional and even wise decision to choose safety and predictability but more often I think it’s the opposite root. For me, it usually comes from a lack of intentionality that acts like mud bogging me down in the mundane. The current of life and to do lists whisks me onward and I often forget that I even have the privilege of a choice. (I say ‘privilege of a choice’ because I know there are so many around the world who don’t have this simple human right to the privilege of a choice, but that’s a different blog for a different time…)
I’m grateful for the writing on the ground reminding me to stop and wake up to the beautiful world surrounding me, inviting me into the birdsong of its morning light. And I write this now to encourage each of you my friends, if any of you need the same encouragement as me, to dream more and crave more. Let curiosity lead you to explore more and discover more. Something grand might be waiting to delight you just around the corner.
But you have to choose to go.
Lean into becoming more fully alive because this is the only chance we get. We don’t get do overs in this journey we call life.
My longing is for everyone to experience the best of what’s all around and in doing so love swells in our hearts. In this we draw closer to the Giver of every good gift. This is the Love we can then share with a weary hungry world that’s starving for more love - for our love. You matter and what you do matters. Live well. Love well. Dream on dear one... and run on…