I peered out the window and smiled as the sun briefly peeked back between blustery grey clouds. It seemed like eternity had passed since the rain began days earlier leaving only short interludes into which I dared to walk our Great Danes around the neighborhood.
I made the 1.25 mile trek with my ten month old pup, Quorra Belle, then headed out with our foster dane. She was also a hundred-plus pound, ten month old, but with little leash walking experience and no tolerance for water anywhere outside her bowl. Eventually, after high-stepping through the grass as each car passed and delicately prancing around every puddle in true debutant style, my long-legged canine princess made it home, exhausted and ready for a nap.
The girls willingly plopped in their crates with grateful sighs after a small treat of boiled chicken. They stretched their long velvety bodies from one end to the other, done for the morning. With that, I calculated that I might have time to get a three mile run in, gauging by the speed of the current set of clouds rolling in from the east. Even if they did start to sprinkle on me, I would run. After all, I’d be soaked after a sunny run, so why not after a rainy one? At least the rain water didn’t smell like sweat, and some cloud cover was more comfortable than direct sunlight baking my skin.
I activated my phone’s GPS and strapped it to my left arm. With a running start I aimed straight toward the broad moat of standing water at the end of the drive. My right leg extended far out in front as I leapt. Cool, I cleared it! And it was a good thing–I would have committed mass frog-infanticide had I landed in the swarming sea of grey-black tadpoles below.
My first mile was marked by an eery stillness. How those ominous clouds tumbled overhead, yet neither a leaf nor a blade of grass moved, eluded me. The humidity was suffocating, but stagnant air soon gave way to cooler, intermittent gusts by my second mile. And I was feeling my running groove. I ducked down a side street to add more distance to my usual neighborhood loop; My feet instinctively matched the faster pace of the music playing through one earbud, and I started praying as I often do when I run. Thunder grumbled in the distance as rain sprinkles dotted my sunglasses.
I was thinking about eternity of all things, as I turned down Emerson Street facing an oncoming stream of traffic. Hopping another puddle, I glanced over at the wet pavement as cars whizzed by just a few feet away. It dawned on me mid-air that my anxiety over this scene–cars flying toward me, intermittent rain, wet pavement–had lessened in recent months. Since my son’s motorcycle accident that took him from us nearly three years ago, I’d suffered a PTSD-like experience every time I was exposed to this environment. But traffic, darkness and rain–even seeing motorcycles and white SUVs–are basically unavoidable on any given day, so I had no choice but to own the fear, the emotions, the tears every time they sprung up at me. And it was often.
But my repeated go-to prayer to snap me out the black abyss had trained my brain–and my spirit–to deal with this new part of my existence: “Father…Fill me with your Holy Spirit…Show me what you want me to see and to dwell on!” Without fail my mind would instantly focus on something eternal…Like Quinn’s existence with Jesus in heaven.
On this day I felt a sense of victory, though, as it wasn’t as jolting as it had felt uncountable times before. Still, I longed to feel Quinn near. I wanted to feel some part of eternity in my heart.
I felt almost as if I was running through that day, November 16, 2013, as dark clouds pressed down choking out the daylight. Within a few more steps the rain picked up obscuring my vision, so I pushed my sunglasses on top of my head and increased my pace. In that moment something caused my attention to focus on my necklace which had been thump, thump, thumping against my chest just over my heart with each step.
The silver charm, which held a small amount of Quinn’s ashes, was deliberately chosen in the shape of an infinity symbol. Infinity. Never ending. Eternal. The very “shape” of eternity (as much as we can assign one) with just a trace of the vessel my son shed for heaven, had been pounding on my heart with each and every step. (Sometimes I am amazed by how easily I can miss what is literally right in front of my own face.) Gratitude for another great, soggy run that turned into an answered prayer washed over me right along with the rain as I turned the corner just a block from home.
I hope you hear or feel eternity tugging, calling or even pounding on your heart today too! Don’t miss it like I almost did!