Thursday, June 17, 2010

Toes on the Ledge

This morning, I laced up my Rykas and went for a run on the Monon determined to have a good run. The Monon has to be my favorite place to run. Unlike running on the sidewalk by my house, the Monon forces me to unfocus…to get into the zone of running. There are no cars zipping past….no houses, schools, stores. It’s just pavement, trees, and little chipmunks zipping under my feet.

My iPod shuffle creates a running mix of my favorite songs and I footfall at a time….step….step…step. My right brain kicks into overdrive and I just start thinking….not solving anything, but simply musing and mulling.

My little white earbuds bring the words of David Gray’s song, Breathe, to the forefront of my mind. I listen to the lyrics and contemplate.

Wink, wink and the moment’s gone

And then the doorbell rings.
Somebody asks you, could
you spare a little time
to feel the weight that’s mine

to lower down your guard.
Yeah, that your heart gets snagged,
caught in the wheels and dust dragged.
Dangled o’er the edge….breathe.

You feel you’re in too deep,
so offer up some crumb
and drop it in the tin,
then slither back within
your crenelated wealth
your educated self
your family, your rude health
all the joy it brings.

Aren’t we forgetting something?
Feet out on the ledge, feet on the ledge.

Then in the heat of noon,
it finds like some dog
got parked up in a field
hermetically sealed
and scratching at the windshield
and howling at the glass
at anyone might walk past.
Were you not aware?

Breathe, the sea of broken lives
mechanics, doctors, housewives.
Feet out on the ledge

Feet out on the ledge….feet out on the ledge…..breathe…..breathe. Boy have I been there!!! On the ledge….wanting to end a relationship, to quit….Have you ever just wanted to quit?? Quit your job, quit being a mom, quit being a daughter, sister, friend, neighbor. Feet out on the ledge, suffocating in disappointment…suffocating in the fact that I disappoint others….surrounded by the sea of broken lives…..breathe, Becky…just breathe!

What keeps me going when I want to pack my bags and fly to Tahiti?? What keeps me still when I want to run? Grace!! Grace is air for the soul to breathe. A kind word, a sympathetic ear, a hug, a friend who loves me knowing that sometimes I am a jerk. Breathe Becky…..breathe in the air of grace!

My feet hit the ground in rhythm of the song….crunch…crunch…crunch. Running….it’s what I do. Things aren’t going well, I hit the door…I escape…mentally, emotionally, physically. I hide….sometimes in full view…mostly because I am afraid. What if they see the real, imperfect me and cast me away?? Toes on the ledge……breathe.

Grace is the fluid that keeps relationships working well…’s the oil for the engine, keeping things running smoothly. When grace is freely given and freely received, there are obstacles to get over, but lasting damage is minimal. Grace is allowing myself to love and encourage when the other person doesn’t really deserve it…grace is knowing their annoying tendencies and not judging them for it. Grace keeps no records of wrongs, always hopes, always protects. Grace allows the other person to be herself in a healthy manner and allows space to breathe whereas a legalistic approach to a relationship is suffocating.

Growing up in-and-out of church, I heard preachers speak about “works based faith.” You know, where you have to “work” your way into the pearly gates through a series of doing good things and avoiding bad things. It’s a never-ending list of self-improvement done not because of great love and respect but out of obligation. I think human relationships suffer from this same viewpoint - we do things out of obligation…simply because of our obligation….and we resent the hell out of it! We expect others to do things out of obligation - we manipulate them (girls are especially good at this) to see things our way, we cajole, threaten abandonment, and bring in the big guns….the giant guilt trip….and people resent the hell out of us when we do. When we operate in obligation, we “offer up some crumb and drop it in the tin then slither back within.” We give a pittance to the other person and return to our hiding place. As David Gray says, “Aren’t we forgetting something?” Breathe……grace.

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