We all face gritty moments. By gritty I mean that life throws us challenges that make us dig inside and see how much grit we can summon. Can we keep on? Will we rise and meet or give up and hide? Do we have the resolve to grit our teeth and press forward? My mother has grit. My grandmother had grit. My great grandmother and great great grandmother had it too. They raced for land, lived in dugouts, went back to school to be a nurse, cared for sick husbands and orphaned brothers and sisters, opened their own businesses, limped through life with disability, and faced disappointments in life, nature, people, and hope. But, they faced them.
Once when I was training for a marathon I had a very long run that felt even longer than the 19 miles I was supposed to go that day. For whatever reason, I felt particularly weak in the legs and heart. I was slogging through the miles, wondering if this was really worth it at all. I was tired, body and soul. Then they came.
As I ran, I felt Meme, Nanny-no, and Grandmother Sullins watching me in pride and joy. I felt these women, who shouldered so much and endured so well, looking at me with smiles and encouragement. It lifted me. I saw myself doing something very hard. And doing it was going to make me more like them. I felt them telling me not to quit, not to shrink, and not to turn back. I thought of my Meme, limping along with her twisted hips, watching her granddaughter taking strides and running miles. I saw my Nanny-no, imagining her as my mother described her, standing on the porch, wringing her apron, expressing concern when my mother was running late, and somehow producing a meal from her slim pantry to feed whoever needed feeding. And Grandmother Sullins, whom I met only as a baby, carving out her life in the dugout in Oklahoma. And they were cheering for me. They had done hard things. Lots of them. And so could I.
Life is full of hard things. Running a marathon is easy compared to many of them. Our shoulders get tired, our eyes get wet, and our hands hang down. Those are the gritty moments. And at those moments, when we feel most alone, I believe it is when we are far from it. Angels surround and Christ upholds. He dries the tears and lifts the hands. He strengthens the shoulders and makes us more. I believe in Him. And I believe Him. I know that as I face a gritty moment in life, I have heavenly helpers cheering for me again. They see my heavy heart. They see my resolve, my weakness, and my faith urging me forward. They believe in me. I believe in me. I believe that Jesus Christ loves me. I know that His love brought him lower than I will ever know, suffering in ways I cannot imagine. And He did it for me. He did it so that when I am tired, weak, alone, or hurt, He will know how to give me energy, strength, love, and healing. He lives. The Great Redeemer lives. He sends us each other, He sends us hope. My grit runs pretty deep, several generations even, but it isn't that grit alone that will carry me. My resolve to hold on to my own strength won't get me far, but my resolve to never, ever let go of my Savior will carry me forever.
So thanks Meme. Thanks Nanny-No. Thanks Grandmother Sullins. I'll keep running.