Not my favorite things. However, in the attempt to regain some strength and health after our bit of a scare after Maddie’s birth, I was at the gym at 5. I was on the treadmill and watching the dozen or so people in this venture with me. There were a few women my age, all on treadmills or ellipticals, a few college age boys working out with the weights.
And one older, white-haired man. He had that kind of glare when he looked at you…the kind where you are not sure he is actually glaring at you or just staring through you and thinking about something else. I kept glancing at him and at first was a little annoyed by his glare.
That was my 5am instinctual response. Annoyance.
Then I looked over and noticed that he had stopped working the machine he was on. He was just sitting there with his hands folded in front of him. He didn’t look to be in distress, but he was obviously lost in thought. I watched him as I walked and noticed that he sat likes this for one minute…another minute…another.
Then he wiped away a tear.
Then he shifted himself and began to work the machine again. And to glare. Or maybe just stare through everyone.
I said a prayer for him as I walked. I wanted to walk by and place my hand on his shoulder, but I was afraid I would embarrass him or overstep the acceptable boundaries for the gym at 5am.
When I left I was bothered by my instinctual response of annoyance.
I have claimed to follow Christ for 20 years now. I was deeply sad that my instinctual response hadn’t changed all that much.
I left with a prayer for him, and a prayer for myself that I would be more motivated by the Spirit…more quick to think with compassion than annoyance. More quick to pray and to desire to help than to brush off.
Praying that my instinct would be over-ridden…..changed….transformed….to be like Christ.