Yesterday, I left work earlier than I had intended (still after 5 o’clock) when I received word that my proposal for a class would be rejected. I’ve been looking forward to this class for weeks: stressing about it—yes, to be sure—but also very excited for it. It’s a highly advanced class that I know will help me be better at my work. The problem is it’s in L.A. every Saturday for ten weeks. Living in Utah, that causes an expense: A considerable—though not unreasonable—expense which apparently my company is unwilling to support.
Dejected, sad and a bit angry, I left work for the day with tasks left undone. Why angry? Because I haven’t taken advantage of our company’s lucrative and generous professional development funding for the twelve years I’ve worked here. They encourage us to do so every year, but my job’s schedule is about as predictable as is the apocalypse. I would’ve thought maybe by now, I might have earned a bit of leeway. But my dejection is not the point of this article.
When I’m feeling sad and unproductive, I make an extra effort to be creative. I came home, determined to make some kind of headway in my script. I’ve been having a dry spell of writer’s block over a difficult passage and have been stalling to get it done. So I pressed forward, writing the scene and mucking it up in the worst way possible; knowing that I’ll have to rewrite it again. But at least I got it out on cyber-paper. Hooray for my team!
Exhausted, mind spinning, body wracked with pain: the insomnia clutched at me, cradling me in its Mephistophelian arms. Hour after lonely hour I reviewed in my mind all of my dear loved ones enduring such deep trials right now. Why is February such a hard month? You know how it goes if you’ve ever been beset by this pestilent devil, Insomnia. The worst thoughts possible in the dead of night won’t leave you alone. Like pernicious ghosts the thoughts lingered about: my suicidal friend with whom I had just spoken; my deteriorating mother whom I love and already miss; all my family about whom I worry incessantly; friends; co-workers; job; future; and the ever-present lack of a husband.
So I prayed. And I wept. And I prayed again for all these whom I love… until that magical hour of the fourth-watch—three o’clock—when I finally drifted off to sleep.
This morning, light came in the window early, and I arose to take Kirby for his morning walk. I felt surprisingly rested, despite the short night, and in fair spirits. Kirby was even more well-mannered than usual this morning. When we passed the end of the condos, he didn’t even go exploring—as he usually does—to the point that I have to call him back. He stayed with me on the road.
As we turned the corner to “The Long Road,” as I call it, Kirby stayed right by my side. We walked a little faster… then even faster.
“Race ya,” he said, grinning his crooked smile at me. My heart melted in the morning frost.
Soon, we were running side by side along this long stretch of deserted road. Now, Kirby is a small dog and an old dog; so it was really no great feat—this running thing. But for me it was a giant milestone.
While I’ve done plenty of “power-walking” over the last several months, I haven’t allowed myself to trip into a running gate since my knee surgery in 2005. There are, of course, various reasons for this which I won’t go into here. But the point is: I RAN with Kirby this morning for the first time in almost eight years! I forgot how freeing this running thing feels and how addicting it is!
Both of us kept looking at each other to see if the other was going to stop first. “Are you stoppin’? You’re lookin’ a little winded there, ol’ boy. We can stop if you want.”
“Who are you callin’ ‘old boy, Miss Fancy-Pants?’ I’m on four legs and you’ve got only two. You tell me when you’ve had enough.”
Then we both started coughing uncontrollably from being out of breath in the below-freezing morning air. What a sight! Dog and Dame bent over gasping and coughing… and grinning at each other from ear to ear.
As we limped home, neither of us accustomed to this kind of exercise, I couldn’t help but hear the words of prophet-poet-musician-laureate King David come to my mind over and over again. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalms 30:5).
I’m so glad there are mornings.