You see, there’s this fellow I see jogging almost every morning on my way to work. I see lots of people jogging along my short commute; apparently they haven’t received the message that the eighties are over.
But this fellow is different. He’s a big, tanned, strapping Nordic- or Germanic-looking guy with bulging muscles from his neck down to his knee-high sweat socks and he has short, dark blond hair styled in an almost-military cut. He has a serious running face on when he runs.
And he runs like a girl in a tight formal and high heels.
Now, I have to confess that I have derived a bit of amusement from this – especially since I am 16 pounds overweight, get winded just going up my stairway at home, have bowed legs, and have never enjoyed running. (Although I owe quite a bit to a kind track coach in junior high school who couldn’t remember my name but took the time to help me learn to walk and run pointing my toes out slightly so it didn’t hurt so much and looked more normal.)
So for some time, I have stolen a secret smile on my way to work at the sight of Nordic Guy, arms close to his chest, plodding with tiny though powerful strides that must require twice the effort in a run because they are only half normal-length. A smug smile. A smile of judgment on those who must be addicted to their own endorphins. A smile of superior lethargy.
Until this morning.
This morning, he was not wearing the artificial leg that I have evidently never noticed before. He was just wearing the peg from the severed knee down.
A lump caught in my throat. And I thought about what Jesus said: “You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one.”
Tomorrow, if I am blessed to see him again, I will smile a smile of deep and humble joy at a man who runs when many others in the same circumstance would give up on walking.
And I just might run a few laps, myself.
– Toes out, of course.