This week I toured a new residency for a nonprofit whose mission is to provide homeless women and men with mental health challenges a hope for the future. Second Heart Homes is the name of this Sarasota-based nonprofit.
The facility my colleague and I toured-the first residence in their program designed for women-just opened in December. At the moment, three clients are in the program; the facility will eventually be prepared to house 12 women.
My first visit in one of Second Heart’s Homes was in the fall of 2020. I revisit that first tour every time I enter a new residence. Each visit in each residence breathes new life into everyone in the room. Why? Because their is love and hope in each heart and smiles on each face.
Yet, the reality remains that behind that smile is a heart and mind with wounds waiting to be healed. Steps have been taken to start the healing, but the journey has just begun.
This hit home as I heard a simple illustration about one of the new clients in the women’s facility. Although she’s been there for several weeks…although she was friends with one of the other women before moving in…although she no longer has to rely on the Salvation Army for shelter each night, she has to have lights on and her purse is under her pillow while she sleeps.
Take a moment. Imagine what’s behind these necessities.
The image of a purse under a pillow stuck with me. Many thoughts went through my mind, so many to chew on. The one that I most appreciated was this: Thank God someone got in the ditch for this lady.
True empathy cares about not just providing a pillow but what it might be used to protect. True empathy gets in the ditch.
If my first two reads of 2022 are any indication, I’m in for an education.
Before reading this book, I knew nothing about the start of Wycliffe Bible Translators and Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). It’s quite a story. In this memoir, you learn just how passionate founder Cameron Townsend was and how that passion laid the foundation for one of the largest mission organizations. His vision and commitment led many world leaders to join forces to transform communities. He used what he had and relied on God for what he didn’t have.
If James Cone only wrote this book for me, it would have been worth his time. I’m thankful for the direction I received to read it. I had no idea what I was going to learn and experience. I learned many things. Much of what I learned gave voice to my mind’s whys I didn’t know I needed to voice and answered my soul’s questions I didn’t know I needed to know. As a white, 53-year-old son of a Baptist preacher, my heart ached and my eyes teared through much of this book. So many what if’s and why not’s simultaneously producing shame and empathy, anger and compassion. My view of American history has changed. My appreciation for suffering has deepened. My belief in Jesus’ sacrifice has solidified.
These two books exemplify why it’s important to read. What are you reading? What education will you give yourself in 2022?
Yesterday my run was a 6-mile route I created last Summer. It mostly runs east and west, as you can see here:
At the mile 1 turnaround, I noticed something. I had been running with the wind to my back, which meant for the next three miles it was now in my face. Made me stop (I didn’t actually stop running) and think…and this is where my mind went the next three miles.
Some windy days are worse than others. On those worse days, like this past Sunday when gusts were 20+MPH, I run as much as possible in the crosswind. Of course, you always have the choice to say, “No thanks. I’m not even lacing up.”
Ultimately, you need to run into the wind. Why? Because Race Day is Coming!
All the training weeks before race day you can do whatever you want in choosing to deal with the elements. But come race day, it’s out of your hands. There’s no opting out. The course is already laid out, and the elements are not in any human’s hands. Race Day is here. You have to deal with it.
Runner or not, we all have race days.
Newly engaged…race day is coming
Newly pregnant…race day is coming
Final child about to graduate…race day is coming
Mid-life career change approaching…race day is coming
Anticipating retirement…race day is coming
These race days, if you’re living life well, you see coming and can do your best to make the right training choices. There are some race days you don’t see coming. Like 100MPH wind race days. If you are a “This Is Us” fan, this week you saw Beth and Randall have to deal with a major Race Day with their 17-year-old. All race days, known and unknown, come, and you don’t have a choice but to deal with the elements.
So what do we do? Sure, most training days and race days are mild. Enjoy them to the fullest. On those “unmild” days, recognize you have choices. If you want to be ready for race day, you’ve got to be willing to run into the wind occasionally. When that’s not your best option, it’s okay to slow the pace or claim it as rest day.
Three Saturdays ago I was sleeping the day away, pretty sure I had COVID. Test came back the next day affirming my suspicion.
I test my health often by running. Can I? How did it go? Do I need a nap soon after? Yadda yadda.
Thankfully my case was mild. I “ran a test” with a decent 5k the following Wednesday, but not every run since has been an indicator that all is well.
Earlier this week I set a plan to run each day this weekend-a progressive schedule of six miles on Friday, seven on Saturday, and eight on Sunday. Nothing new. This was a routine schedule this past Fall.
Not sure what it is, but Friday runs since the Summer have occasionally been rough. Yesterday was one of them. I cut it short, ending up with 4.15 miles. I haven’t let my mind look at Fridays any differently…well, until yesterday.
So last night and this morning I debated how far I should run this morning. Not running wasn’t an option I considered. I landed on simply running the same route as yesterday and see how the six went. Around mile two my legs felt pretty much like yesterday, not quite as sluggish. I decided it didn’t matter what pace I had to adjust to, how much walk/running I had to do, six miles was happening today.
A little over three miles I stopped for a quick water break in the park. I didn’t stop long. I didn’t want my body to tell my mind what to do. Somewhere in mile four my legs perked up. I told myself, “Go with it.” I adjusted my course and ran past my next turn taking the next road instead.
I ended up taking four more such turns and completed just under seven miles…with more in the tank.
Here’s my takeaway. We all have days when things don’t go according to plan. We all have to deal with letdowns, apparent failures, missed goals. At the end of those days when we assess the next one, we have options. They range from shutting down to overcompensating. Usually, somewhere in the middle is the best option.
How your next day goes is entirely up to you. You have options.