Choosing to Go Without
I’ve loved to jog ever since I was a kid. I’d grab my Walkman and favorite mix tape then head for the outdoors. I ran to clear my mind and be active. I ran to be free. While much has changed since those days (my kids don’t even know what a Walkman is!), jogging is still an important part of my everyday life.
I’ve been jogging through this neighborhood for decades and folks are used to seeing me out there in all kinds of weather. Last week, a neighbor stopped me and asked “how was your jog?” He seemed amused by my sweaty appearance after I’d braved an hour in Galveston’s midday heat. “When are you going to join me?” I answered with a smile after catching my breath. My neighbor smiled and after a pause he responded, “I would, but
I have no shoes to wear.”
His complete honesty sunk in and I realized all the things I take for granted every day. So many things I have and take for granted; my jogging shoes, the ability to step away from the office to exercise, the fact that I have a job. Something as simple as shoes can literally be the difference for many in our community. Many in our community work two and three jobs and they often have to make choices, as we all do, about what to spend their money on.
For my neighbor, he chose to spend what money he had on school supplies for his three children! He chooses to go without so he can provide for his children. He even smiled as he shared with me how he provides for his kids! What a joy to see the healthy pride in this man! When he finished speaking, I looked him in the eye and reminded him that he is what a man looks like. He is a man who sacrifices himself to provide for his children.
Next time you jog, workout, or do whatever it is that clears your mind, please remember my neighbor. Be reminded, as I was, that many in our community do not have the basic needs we take for granted. I am learning so much from my neighbors. I am indebted to their willingness to have mercy and patience with me as I learn to love my community.
It's my joy to serve,