A good workout

Stuff’s been weird lately. You know, how you get yourself a little cross-threaded in your head, and it’s just not going forward or coming out. Church hasn’t been the safe place I’d been needing it to be. Work’s been ridiculous for all the stupid going on, exhausting in its whimsy. The only places things seem to make sense right now are in this strange new thing called marriage, and atop the rubble pile or on the training field.

Today I started the day with an interesting conversation with one of my favorite people, an African-American pastor who is always in the courthouse, ministering and chatting to all who cross his path.  We were talking about how “hard” everything is here–the crimes, the poverty, the injustice, the inequity. Then he reminded me how really simple it all is.

“Love God and love others?” I said.

“Yep. That’s it.”

Then he told me a story about a woman he sees at the gym–who works out constantly, going from one machine to another. But she’s always on the phone, never pushing herself. Never breaking a sweat. And she’s still gaining weight. Working out is work. Not complicated, but work. We’re supposed to be working.

Then this afternoon, I covered a little thing. Not a big story, but probably an important story. And while doing it I encountered a Jewish writer and consultant. He tells me of this old Hebrew blessing–“May you go from strength to strength.” He amends it a bit when he’s working with kids. He adds “…and may you give that strength to others.” We’re happiest, he said, when we are working on being better people.

I’m not sure whether I’m up to the workout right now. Mostly I feel  like I’m just trying to keep my own poop in a group. I’m not real good (read: at all) at loving others, and am pretty sure the only living creature I can tolerate for more than 20 minutes is my dog. But I’m still trying, I guess, to be “better people.”