Tuesday, April 12, 2005


I opened my eyes for the first time this morning at about the 4 1/2 mile mark of my 6 mile run. Gotta say the run wasn't my best ever--filled with pain, discomfort and more than a few negative thoughts.

But, like I say, I finally woke up!

As I ran along, now aware of my surroundings, I found it hard to take it all in.

White Rock Lake in the spring amazes me.

The surface of the water was mirror-like with only occasional ripples responding to the gentle breeze. The sun painted the sky with a red-orange glow as it slipped up from below the cover of the horizon. Hundreds of Cyprus trees showed off their new foliage.

Ducks ran around on the grass next to the water. Mother ducks with their new ducklings swam furiously out into the deeper water as I approached.

The air smelled clean and good.

The morning could not have been better or more beautiful.

Somehow though, I had managed to run for over four miles without noticing a thing except my own struggle.

As I drank in the beauty of the morning over that last mile-and-a-half, it hit me. My friends who have so little of the material stuff of this world try to teach me this same lesson all of the time.

How many times have people, literally at the end of their rope in my judgment, directed me toward the positive, the good and the hopeful? More times than I can count.

Always thanking God for waking us up. Always praising God for the smallest blessing. Talk about living with eyes wide open!

Don't get me wrong. My point is not to romanticize the poor or their ability to courageously overcome the challenges they face. Nor do I intend to imply that "the poor" should be viewed as a monolithic group or a class without variations in attitude, viewpoint or perspective.

It is just clear to me that very often pain and struggle cause people to open their eyes wide. Folks who face great difficulty often look for the best and the beautiful more often than some of the rest of us who seemingly "have it all together." [As a matter of fact, I have this theory that it is our fundamental selfishness, fueled by an addiction to the material, that drives our economic policies and priorities contributing to the impoverishment of so many of our fellow citizens. I'll save that for a future post!]

I know for me one of my biggest challenges relates to my tendency to keep my focus on myself rather than the gigantic and mysterious world outside.

So, for a few minutes this morning, as I loped along on the trail beside the lake, I realized the amazing beauty of life clearly visible, even through my own pain.


David U said...

Thanks for that very inspiring post, Larry! And full of truth also.

Go Ahead On, Brother!

Jeremy Gregg said...

Speaking of "economic policies and priorities contributing to the impoverishment of so many of our fellow citizens" . . . looks like the estate tax is once again on the verge of death. If this happens, I cannot imagine how the disparity will widen between the rich and the poor who have no assets to pass on.

Tim Perkins said...

Your beautiful sentiments inspired by the pre-dawn beauty of White Rock pushes me to relate a story: When I was young (a long time ago), I would get up at 4:15 and run a lap around the lake before work. Seems like it was 9.2 miles or so.

Anyway, one foggy morning, I saw a human silhouette up ahead near the jogging trail. Now, there are occasional runners one will see at that time of morning, but this form wasn't running.

I swallowed hard and kept approaching. When I got close enough to render an observation, sheer amazement hit me. The "form" was a guy dressed in a tux, leaning on a cane, wearing a monacle, and sporting a top hat.

I believe it was Mr. Peanut, the guy on the Planters Peanuts label. I didn't know he made personal appearances!

I spent the rest of the run wondering, "Did I really see what I just saw?" And what set of circumstances would deposit a fellow in a tux, top hat, and cane at White Rock at 4:45 AM?

Woke me up, too.