He was on the back deck when my mother told him he was out of shape. This sweet father of mine, who has a heart of gold and a chest of pride, was immediately taken by her playful words.
“You couldn’t run a mile if you had to,” she laughed. And before the wager was set; he was off.
My six-foot three father jumped up and jogged down the steps of our deck in brown bulky work boots and a flannel shirt. He sprinted down the driveway and onto the sandy dirt road that led to our home in the 1980’s. And as a little girl I watched my mother giggle at this larger than life man.
And my father tells the story better than me, but he says it took only minutes for his weighty boots to sink into the tire tracks of the dirt road and his long sleeve shirt to soak with sticky sweat. And he ran just far enough until he was out of sight of our home. He knew yards away was a curve in the road, and it was where he would stop. He’d catch his breath, sit awhile and run back home and my mother and I would never know the difference. And just before he made it to the bend, he recognized the rumblings of a green Volkswagen inching closer and closer to his wobbly legs. And as a young little girl, I rolled down the window and threw my arms in the air and screamed, “Go daddy, go!” He knew he couldn’t stop. He would finish the race or die trying.
And he has spent his character laced life running faithfully.
And as a mother there is a distinct curve in the road that lures me to come and sit and stay a while. No one will notice an empty pew or a deficient prayer life or a fancy for the pretty instead of a heart for the broken. But there is a captivated audience that walks my halls and asks the tough questions. They watch and they listen and they emulate … the good and the bad. And I know that there is a race to run. There are encouraging words to be whispered and youthful dreams that have yet to take flight. So on some days I dawdle and on others I sprint, but with one foot in front of the other, I continue.