23 January 2010

Something you should know

It seems like there is a lot of darkness in the world right now. I don't know about you, but I get more than my fill of bad news every day. The recent death of a close friend in Haiti has brought all of this even more into focus for myself and many of you. I just needed to tell you all that, if you're reading this and you're one of my friends, you have brought light into my world. Whether you're a brief acquaintance or a close friend or family member, you have made a difference in my life. I know it sounds trite, just some sappy thing to say to people, but when the darkness gets so overwhelming, sometimes the littlest lights seem that much brighter. So thank you for helping to light up my life in these otherwise dark days. Don't worry, I'm not having a nervous breakdown, and I'm not deeply depressed. I just needed to tell you all that, in the midst of a world that we struggle to make meaning out of, you mean something to me. And you may not believe in God like I do, but you need to know that you mean something to God, too. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Oh, and this wasn't some goofy forward. Even though it maybe sounds like it, it wasn't written by a junior high girl (if you're one of my Confirmation students, just, know you write goofy stuff). This is me, Bryant, saying thank you for being my friend. If you have something to give to those suffering in Haiti, please give. No matter what, keep shining your light into our weary world.

*end sappy note to friends*
*resume listening to "pants on the floor"*

16 January 2010

It's been a while

I ran for the first time in quite a while today.  There were several reasons for taking a break from running and several reasons why today was the day I started again.  I haven't run in a while because first, we got hammered by snow over Christmas.  Then, we were out of town to see family at the end of December.  Then, when we returned home, we found Minnesota had remembered that it was supposed to be cold during the winter.  The short days with sub-zero temperatures were not good for my overall morale, and not being able to run outside really started to get to me.  Then, when the weather finally started to warm up, I went and dropped a table on my left foot.  I thought maybe I'd broken my big toe at first, but thankfully it was only bruised.  It's still very black and blue, but the pain is gone.

So, with the weather improved and my toe on the mend, it meant that I was finally able to get back out and run a bit today.  I didn't push too far, only going about 3 miles.  I'm glad I didn't go farther as my feet and calves are a bit sore this evening.  It looks like warm(er) weather is supposed to be around for a while, so hopefully I can get back into shape.  It's amazing how quickly the muscles in your feet lose strength when you don't exercise them!

So there were many reasons why I was thankful to be able to run again today, but perhaps the biggest was because I really needed to do it to help grieve the loss of a good friend from seminary who was killed in the earthquake in Haiti.  I know running may seem like a strange way to mourn to some people, but it will make sense to you if you're a runner.  After hearing the news, my wife (who is nearly 8 months pregnant) said this was the first time in a long time she felt like she really needed to run, but couldn't.  I suppose some people run just for the exercise, but those who truly love to run understand that it fills a lot more needs in our lives than simply burning calories and getting an aerobic workout.

So this morning, as I ran through the foggy and frosty Minnesota prairie, I prayed for Ben, his wife Renee, his cousin Jon, and all their family and friends who have been devastated by the news of Ben's death, and I prayed for all the other people whose lives have been torn apart by this horrendous tragedy.  I came back feeling drained in nearly every possible way, but still trusting that God will fill us again.