Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
This weekend I was in Charleston, South Carolina-Mount Pleasant to be exact-for my aunt's 80th birthday. Wow! I sure hope to be as sharp and energetic as she is at that age! Anyways, normally my family stays with her at her house and I usually get up in the mornings and run Pitt Street Bridge, the causeway to Sullivan's Island or drive to the foot and run the new Arthur Ravenal Bridge. However, we did not stay with Aunt Betty this time; we stayed at a hotel near the foot of the bridge, on the opposite side of the walkway. I woke up with a determination to get to the other side of the highway somehow and run the bridge like usual. Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't mind deviating my path this morning and often do on runs when I "just feel like it." As I stepped out on to the sidewalk towards palmettos and dune bushes, I suddenly decided that "I just felt like it" and starting running.
I hopped from roadside to roadside seeking the more shady side, only to discover that if I had stayed on "my original side" I would have been closer to the back beach. I later discovered that the back beach was actually the mouth of the Cooper and Wando Rivers meeting in the Charleston Harbor. Back to the sidewalk...so I crossed, and once in front of the new condo building, I realized that I could have stayed on "my side" and gone off the sidewalk onto a gravel and crushed oyster trail along the back of the building and ran along the marshy, coastal reeds.
You already know what I did....I deviated. I took the path less followed. I took the scenic, sentimental, off-beat path. And man, am I glad I did. The smell of the marshy, silty sand and reeds took me right back to Pitt Street and back to my many of days running in Mount Pleasant. However, today, this wonderfully cooler and cloudy September morning brought me to new places, new memories, new blessings and discoveries. I had finally took the time to listen to myself. And stop and listen is what I did next.
Eventually, I would end up at the new Visitors Center and Memorial Park and Pier; however, I had no idea that is what lie ahead. Beautiful and true to the landscape, I ran from the trail and through the park and onto the pier, which led out into the Charleston Harbor, and right under the Bridge!! I came to a stand still, stretched a bit and just breathed. Breathed in the salty air, the calmness of the water and the cry of a pair of dolphins swimming by. Can you imagine what I would have missed if I would have stayed on the sidewalk and taken the sharp left under the bridge? I can...missed opportunities, missed blessings and new mercies that were given to me this day.
God has truly blessed me on my runs when I have deviated. Sometimes I deviate off my path in life, the one that's spelled out-job, events, expectations, etc and in return, I have often been either steered back to it or taken on a joyous, spontaneous and merciful ride. Adam and I are on one of those rides right now. I thank God for him and this new adventure in the US Navy, our 1st year of marriage and for my surprisingly beautiful morning run on Saturday. I was quiet and still and waited on the Lord and he heard me.
A old view from the foot of the bridge. Arthur Ravenal on the Left, old Cooper River on the Right. The Cooper has since come down. I cannot take credit for this photo. I did not expect anything to be new to my eyes that morning. I was wrong. What a sweet reprimand for straying?!