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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)

TITLE: Strength Training
By Marita Vandertogt


Julie dropped one knee to the ground to reach the lace that had come undone. The track was long. Longer than she could handle today.

“Hey” she heard Adam puff the word a few feet behind her. “Hurry up or you’re gonna get too far behind the rest of the group.” She heard the crunch of gravel under his feet as he passed by. She tied the shoe in a double knot, then sprinted back into the race. She knew she’d come in last. She was prepared, after all, she was only doing this because it was supposed to be great therapy.

“Exercise is the best for handling a mild depression.” Her doctor had told her this, while she sat across from him in a sterile white room with no pictures. “Get out there and walk, or jog, or something you enjoy doing. Give it a try and if that doesn’t work, well then we’ll talk some more.”

So she started to run. Every day, first for about a half an hour, and then longer, till now she could do a solid hour without heavy breathing. But the depression was still there, still hung over her thoughts like a cloud refusing to let the sunlight in. The running helped, but it couldn’t push the heavy air from her brain.

So she found herself across from the high polished desk in the sterile white room once more. “I’ve tried doctor, really I have.” She felt a tear push at the corner of her eye, but that’s as far as it would come.
“Okay,” he said, scrawling words across a prescription sheet. “Try this, and see me in a month.”

She took the paper, folded it up and snapped it inside her purse. “There,” she thought. “These will help.”

The following day she took the paper from her purse and handed it to the pharmacist. “I’ll be back in 15 minutes if you think you’ll have it filled by then.”

“Well,” the pharmacist looked at the note and then at her, and then back at the note. “That’s fine, but I’m not sure how I can fill this.” He folded the sheet and handed it back to her.

Julie took the paper which she hadn’t really looked at, and opened it slowly, her eyes a question.

“Like this is going to work,” she said out loud, threw the note in the garbage bin next to the counter, and left the store.

Later that night, she told Adam what had happened. “Well honey, you just make another appointment tomorrow and tell him you want that medication.” He stood tall, his body lean and tan from the outdoors. “I’m headin’ back out to the track tonight. Gonna’ join me?” He asked, filling the water bottle to the top and pulling on the navy blue sweatband that went with his eyes. Adam always looked so well, so healthy. Why couldn’t she just be like him.

“You go ahead,” she told him, walking towards the bedroom. “I’m going to lay down for a while.”

She heard the door close quietly. Then went over and picked the Bible up off the shelf where she kept it dusted, and turned to the New Testament. She began to read out loud. “Rejoice in the Lord.... do not be anxious about anything.... and the peace of God... (Phil. 4:4-8)

Not easy things to do, she thought to herself. And in a lot of ways, takes more energy and focus than the actual running. But if she made this passage her goal, then just possibly the clouds would have to part. It was worth a try. After all, strengthening the outer man took work, hard work, and it paid off.

“Well Lord,” she said as she heard the door open, heard Adam gulping the cool water from what was left in his bottle. “It’s worth a try, with your help of course.”

“How was your run honey,” she heard herself call out to Adam with a bit of a lilt in her voice.

“Great,” he said. “Yah, just great.”

“Mine too,” her voice smiled the words.

“What run,” Adam pulled the band from his eyes. He watched her as her fingers flew across the keys of the laptop.

“Well,” she said, “There’s a women’s group that meets every week at the church. I need to go. That’s the start of my new track run sweetheart.”
“What?” he said from the shower.

“It’s all good.” She whispered back. “It’s all good.”

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This article has been read 497 times
Member Comments
Member Date
RuthAnn Cornelson09/17/10
Interesting read. I liked that she recognized that it took work to strengthen the outer man and so it would take some work on her part to change her inner attitude. Rejoicing and not being anxious don't come naturally. Getting help from fellow Christians at the women's group was the perfect first step for her. Good message here.
Barbara Lynn Culler09/17/10
This could be a great story,but I am confused with the progression:

Why would she not read what the prescription said?

What was the prescription?

Did it tie in with the verse she read?

Where did the Women's group come from?

How does it all tie in with running?

What made her compare herself to her husband?

I like how you showed the mannerisms, such as tying shoes.

RuthAnn Cornelson09/18/10
I probably shouldn't try and answer the questions since it isn't my story, but here's my take.

The prescription was a the scripture reference she read later. She didn't want to read it because she maybe didn't think the Bible could help or just thought it was a silly thing for the Dr. to do.

She was saying that running was hard work but she got results from it, maybe the Bible could help with her depression if she concentrated on rejoicing. She hadn't wanted to go to the women's group at church but thought now that it might be a way to help her do that.

She compared herself to her husband because things seemed so easy to him and he was happy all the time.

I guess the author is the only one who knows what was being said here, but that's how it came across to me.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/18/10
I liked the fresh take on depression. So many people think everything can be fixed with a pill. I was pit on anti-depressants for chronic pain back before doctors knew a side effect was suicidal ideations. I'm very blessed to still be alive. I enjoyed your story.
Gina Fifo09/22/10
Great idea, a little rough in the progression, but the big picture came across. I once did the opposite - quit taking the meds after a week of not liking the side effects and went into a church, got on my knees and asked God to heal me. For me it worked, but it is not always that easy. Depression can be a chemical imbalance that requires medication.
Christina Banks 09/22/10
I appreciated your story. I've had mild bouts of depression - side effects of a medication I was on. It's not easy to beat it. I'm glad for your MC. She seems like she's on the path to recovery.