Monday, July 26, 2010

cloud of witnesses

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

I often ponder this verse as I'm plodding along. The part about perseverance has been particularly helpful, encouraging me to keep on keeping on--both with my running and my pursuit of Christ.

The other day, though, I tried to envision the great cloud of witnesses who were cheering me on. It tickled me to picture my mom (who died when I was 19), seated on some bleacher-shaped cloud, rooting wildly for me. I recall my mom being the most avid K State Wildcat fan on the planet--she always took a cowbell to the games and knew how to use it!

Heaven help the person sitting next to her if there are cowbells in eternity!

The “witness” I’ve thought about most, however, is my friend Debbie Baker. Even though she was single, Debbie was the best friend a young mom could have. She was funny, smart and usually available to hang out with me when I needed a break from my babies. Debbie became the keeper of my sanity.

One day, Debbie decided that I needed to take up jogging. I can’t recall why–maybe I was struggling with a bit of post-partum depression . . . or whining about my extra poundage. She promised to come over several times a week to run with me–so I unenthusiastically agreed.

We ran for weeks–maybe even months–and I hated every minute of it. I could eventually run for two miles without collapsing, but jogging always wiped me out (I found out later that I was severely anemic at that time). Debbie was a great encourager–and we had sweet times of fellowship as we ran–but it soon became apparent to both of us that jogging wasn’t my thing.

Debbie always found ways to encourage me, however (she may have even saved my life on one occasion, but that’s another story). I was heart-broken when her life ended tragically in 1988. Deb truly left a void in my life that has yet to be filled.

But I know she's a part of that great cloud of witnesses, not just sitting in the bleachers--but waiting for me at the finish line.