The thought jolted me awake.
Was this from my dream? In that brief window of opportunity between slumber and wakefulness, I struggled to regain my sleep thoughts. I remembered sitting in a field picking neon-colored wildflowers. The dream was a bit odd, but it wasn’t sinister. Nothing about it would have prompted the idea of escape.
Could the thought be from the Lord? I had no doubt there had been times He’d warned me away from danger. I sent up a quick prayer but felt no urgency to flee potential peril.
Feelings notwithstanding, I cast my gaze around the room. Everything seemed in order.
It was from the Lord! At that moment, I knew that; I was as certain of it as I was that He loved me. But the thought had nothing to do with a warning.
I laughed. The very idea of running now—at my age—was preposterous!
Oh, I had run. In my youth. Even into my middle years, running had been a huge part of my life. In fact, my mother always claimed I had run before I could walk. I never did crawl. As soon as I figured out forward propulsion I’d gone straight to a hands-and-feet posture where—according to Mom—I’d progressed to a comical, four-point run, long before I’d mastered the art of bipedality.
The thought wouldn’t leave me.
I wondered if it might be possible. Oh, I knew I couldn’t come close to the performances that had garnered high school trophies or even the 5 and 10k participant ribbons of later years. But, maybe…
I took me a while to find my running shoes. Feeling a little foolish, I pulled old shoes onto old feet. I knew they wouldn’t make any real difference. Not to my physical abilities. But, who knew? Perhaps they would to my heart.
Outside, the lingering warmth of Indian summer had relinquished its hold for the first time that year. A chill penetrated my t-shirt. I put on the jacket I’d brought with me, and pulled out the headband and gloves I kept in its pockets, grateful for the just-in-case mentality my family always teased me about.
Pausing at the sidewalk, I closed my eyes. My mind drifted back, as an old mind is wont to do. I visualized, not one of my races, but one of a thousand solitary runs.
I started out at a jog then picked up speed. Houses, then blocks passed in a colorful blur.I heard a cry overhead. A flock of geese—dozens of them in their v—headed toward warmer climes. The soft thud of my footfalls became punctuated by an occasional crunch; the trees had begun to release their leaves. A scent I hadn’t noticed in months drifted across the air. Sure enough, ethereal wisps rose from a nearby chimney, announcing one of the first fireplace lightings of the season.
Best of all, I felt the wind in my hair. Of all the sensations I loved about running, this was my favorite. Even on colder days—like this one—when I gained enough speed the wind reached around my headband to pick up my curls and lift them from my forehead and neck. I felt like I was flying.
A car passed, pulling me out of my reverie. It was time to see how well reality matched remembrance.
I started out. Geese flew overhead. Wood smoke drifted across the air. But no wind lifted my hair. Despite my best efforts I moved along much too slowly for that.
I stopped. It was no use. I guessed that the next time I ran, I would be with the Lord.
“Grandma? What are you doing?”
I looked up at my eldest granddaughter. “You’ll think me a foolish old woman.”
“Oh. Nothing different than usual, then.” Jennifer’s eyes twinkled and we both laughed.
“I…I thought the Lord told me to run. Silly as it sounds, since it came from Him I thought maybe I could. Well, within my limitations, anyway. But I never could get going enough to seem like I was running at all.”
“Maybe I could help.”
Jen took hold of the handles on my chair and started down the walk. Slowly, at first, then picking up speed. Houses, then blocks passed by in a delightful blur. Leaves crunched, first beneath the wheels of my chair, then under Jen’s feet.
I felt the wind in my hair.
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