Lead, Kindly Light

31 Aug

So I was out running this morning…

Do all my posts start out with that sentence? It’s starting to seem like all my metaphors come from my morning run, which is only about …  .016% of my day (I was curious, so I did the math). I suppose it’s just that running is hard, and so is life.

So I was out running today, and it hurt. A lot. Usually, I don’t feel like giving up until that last, brutal uphill stretch. Today I wanted to give up about a quarter of the way through, before we even passed the Dunkin’ Donuts with the warm blueberry bagel smell. As we rounded the corner, I looked at the expanse of sidewalk in front of us and I didn’t think I’d make it. But then, inexplicably, the hymn “Lead, Kindly Light” popped into my head.

Lead, kindly light, amid th’encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene–
one step enough for me.

No, it wasn’t night, it wasn’t dark, and I wasn’t far from home (it really doesn’t take a lot of distance to tire me out). But I decided that I didn’t need to see more than a few steps at a time. I would focus on 3 steps at a time, which, by my stride, is one breath at a time. 3 steps at a time carried me down that long stretch of sidewalk, around the corner, up the last hill, around the next corner, and back to the apartment–about 3/4 of our run. I wouldn’t have thought that I could make it.

Later in the morning, I was reading conference talks from the Ensign (the Church-produced magazine), and I came across Mary N. Cook’s talk to the young women, “Never, Never, Never Give Up!”. In it, she tells the story of a family hiking trip, when her granddaughter became tired, scared, and doubting. To encourage her, they decided to count 100 steps and see how they felt after. With this, and encouraging words and thoughts, they were able to finish the hike. Reflecting on that experience, Sister Cook says “One hundred steps made an impossible task seem doable.”

Life is hard. It’s a constant motion and some days we just don’t know if we have the energy to make it down that long stretch. We may want to sit down and give up. But, like John Henry Newman, the author of the hymn, we can say “Lead, kindly light.” We can focus on just a few steps at at time–or one breath at a time–and trust that God is leading us, that He will guide us, that He will sustain and comfort us. I know that He will.


One Response to “Lead, Kindly Light”

  1. Melissa September 1, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    You know you’re a missionary when you sing hymns to yourself as you run in lieu of an ipod. haha Great story Meaders. One step at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time. This is how we go through life. Good luck this transfer, you’re in my prayers.

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