I went just beyond "enough" yesterday. I don't often go there. At least I haven't since my early days of being an athlete, when it was commonplace. I well remember those days of playing baseball with a rubber ball over at Zion Lutheran Church or wiffle ball home run derby wherever we could find a spot in the street with not too many cars. A few were OK. After all we needed something for bases. We could stay outside literally all day long. Or at least until Mom rang the infernal cowbell that meant we had to go home to do something annoying, like eat.
I reached that elusive "enough" level many times when we lived in Denver as well. Not so much in the Denver-ish, glory-filled ways like skiing all day on the black slopes at one of the five major ski sites within an hour or so's drive. It was in Denver that I rediscovered the joy of running. I never did the jogging thing much until I had my first neck surgery in Mansfield. That was before the days of titanium plates (I got one of those in a subsequent adventure with neck surgery). No, my surgery was one of those chip out a hunk of hip bone and stick it in between vertebrae and wait six months for it to heal on its own. And in those six months the only thing I could do was walk, then jog. So that's what I rediscovered in Denver. I worked up to running six or more miles a day. More to relieve stress than any attempt to get in shape. But working on hill running certainly drew me close to the "enough" obstacle.
Ah, but I have digressed. What, then, could I have possibly done that caused me to reach that elusive barrier? It started out simple enough. Mow the grass. Haven't had to do that but once or twice all summer because of the drought. I started at 8 am. Certainly soon enough to beat the heat. But just as I started the first sweep I noticed my nemesis rearing its ugly head – stickerburs. And in our back yard, that haven of protected grasslands, separated from the harsh realities of outer lawndom for the tender bare feet of tiny Vaughan-ling grandchildren. So of course I had to stop and immediately pull the offenders out by hand. Which led to a stop or two to grab other encroaching weeds. I finally returned to mowing as the sun crept higher into the sky.
Edging was next, always a challenge with our weedeater. The protective barrier fell off some time ago, so I am careful to wear my sunglasses when I operate it. Evil has a way of sneaking into the best protected places, though. As I attacked the weeds on my absent next-door neighbor's fence, something flew up and found its way into the tiny space between my cheek and those wrap-around glasses. And right into my eye. Never saw that one coming. I don't think anything was damaged. It still bothers me, but Chris couldn't find anything. I was not deterred, however. I finished with the weedeater and moved on to trimming the tree, also technically in my neighbor's yard, but I have adopted it for the shade potential. And after the tree came sweeping and hauling branches to the street, punctuated by a stop to clear out some weeds in a few of the flower beds. That's when I realized I was there. It was enough. But I just had a few more weeds to pull, one more trashcan full of branches to dump. And I was determined to not leave anything undone this day. Beneath this antique exterior truly beats the heart of an athlete, right? I can do this. I just needed a little more time, a little more energy. And the project was complete.
As it turned out I also needed a lot more water, a lot more rest, and probably my head examined. I had a headache for the rest of the day. My neck was aching as well, not to mention the pain in my back. I could barely keep my eyes open to watch America's Got Talent. But I made it. Once again I reached just beyond "enough." Maybe I'll try it again. In six months or so.
Proverbs 24:10 still says, "If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!"
Father, I guess I didn't get your message from this verse yesterday, so here it is again. Give me your strength, because yesterday I was faltering even without trouble. Amen.