“Look up”

1908… there it was carved in the sidewalk, proof that my neighborhood is an aging duchess. It is perfectly obvious that she is old when one surveys the houses that were once proud and beautiful but now show up as awkward remodels or in serious disrepair. My imagination runs wild as I ruminate on who has trod our sidewalks in years past. Women in hoop skirts and bustles, men tying up their horsed coaches to the metal rings also still embedding in the sidewalks. These charming remnants of the past are evidence that the sidewalks have not been renewed… ever. These walkways are old, cracked and swollen with roots from trees who are just as old, turning a pleasant walk down the street into an athletic adventure at times. So it was with great surprise that as I headed out on my geriatric jog one morning, I heard a small voice in my head say, “Look up.” My immediate thought was, “I wonder how crowded the emergency room is right now.” No, I would not “Look up.” Then it came again and again, “Look up, focus on the horizon.” I began to wonder if this was some kind of learning moment…from God… maybe.

So I obeyed the voice. I focused on the horizon. It was difficult at first but after weeks of rehearsal I eventually trained my eyes. I found that I could survey the ground for snags with my peripheral vision. I also discovered that when my eyes were fixed on the horizon my steps grew longer and my arms pumped harder… I ran faster. I noticed that sometimes the horizon was impossible to sort out. So I pretended like there was a horizon even if I could see it. I learned that if my eyes act like it is there the rest of my faculties will work hard to get me there more quickly than when I watch the ground beneath my feet. The detritus on the sidewalk sometimes tripped me up a bit but I have not yet fallen.

I wonder if sometimes I care too much for inconsequential things and allow my focus to be so immediate that the big picture gets lost so that I no longer recognize the horizon. I also wonder if I need to live in absolute certainty about what is out there or can I just move forward with light expectations and flow with the rhythms of the run. And what happens to the little distractions if I no longer give them credence? What happens to the run? What happens to me in this process?

By the way, I no longer go for little geriatric jogs. I am a sprinter now… big difference!

Welcome to my new blog! My hope is that we will journey together towards to the horizon even though it is not always understandable or clear. Cheers to a future together of faith and surprises.

16 Replies to ““Look up””

  1. Welcome to the blogosphere Deborah! I just added you to my blogroll and I subscribed to your blog posts. I will def help spread the word about your new web presence. Twitter and facebook and commenting on other blogs are a great way to do this!!!

    See you next week…….LOVE ya!

  2. “my gait lengthened, my arms pumped harder” I love this image. A small, hunched soul opening up, cracking the old shell, looking up… I like this image.

    Anyways, good to meet you (so to speak). Looking forward to hearing what else you may have to say.

  3. Psalm 5:2-4

    New King James Version (NKJV)

    2 Give heed to the voice of my cry,
    My King and my God,
    For to You I will pray.
    3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
    In the morning I will direct it to You,
    And I will look up.

  4. Love this! If we all would learn to listen to the voice we sometimes hear, I believe there would be less to trip us up.

  5. ‘So I pretended like there was a horizon even if I could see it. I learned that if my eyes act like it is there the rest of my faculties will work hard to get me there more quickly than when I watch the ground beneath my feet.’

    everyone wants to see the horizon first. guess what? we’re stuck in the city.
    i think theres this huge misconception that we should act when our heart changes….and not before.
    a friend of mine told me a few days ago that he’d worship which ever god who could help him stop having sex with different women all the time…

    i like that you mentioned this.
    action begets action.

    look forward to reading more deborah!

  6. I listened to, watched, and read your blog.

    Good questions.

    I love seeing the imprints on the curb-sides. I like the history and mystery of it.

    I also love catching sight of the blossom flowers, or the sunset, or a strange anything passing in the scene.

    I say, look anywhere, and be okay with it.
    Look down. Look up. Look forward.
    It’s probably a bad idea to look backwards while running.
    Even sideways–not a good idea (you’d likely just run in circles).

    Like in the 1980’s BMX motion picture RAD the main character learns how to do a backflip by guiding with his head.
    The body follows.
    Guide with the head. The body follows.
    Metaphors falling from the skies…like BMX riders doing backflips.

    Earlier this year, I took a motorcycle license class (Team Oregon).
    The hardest part about riding for me was…drum roll…guiding with my head–looking forward.
    You have to look where you are going, not where you are,
    not down, but out on the horizon, where you will be going next.
    You have to look ahead in your line of sight. Or, you will crash!
    Look down, you will go down.
    Metaphors colliding…like motorcyclists looking down.



    1. Thanks, Garrett! I love the BMX and motorcycle examples. It really makes a lot of sense. Much of life is a mental game… knowing where to look and where not to look. My Al Anon group tells me that what we focus on grows and what we resist persists. In other words, look where you want to go/grow and not on where you do not want to be. In how many other ways could the line of sight metaphor be applied?

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