I love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Its crazy how two so different products, come together in such peaceful and beautiful harmony. I haven’t gotten to eat a whole lot of them though, being out here on the road. You would think that would be just the opposite. It’s funny what people assume about us. Some hosts think we have been having pasta every night, so we never eat pasta. Some think we drink Gatorade every day, but I’ve only had it once on this trip. And on the other spectrum of things, some people we come across think we are incredibly holly or spiritual, and can only be communicated to through scripture. Treating us as if we were a We have definitely had our share of assumptions about us.
The other day I was making myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But there was a major problem. The peanut butter was almost gone. Don’t you hate that? Well, I guess it depends on what type of PB and J person you are. Light PB, heavy jelly. Heavy PB, and heavy jelly. Light and light. Which type of jelly? Crunchy or smooth PB? The possibilities seem endless. I remember as a teenager a friends mom asked me what type of PBJ person I was before making my sandwich. My reply, dazed and intrigued, was “I didn’t know I had a choice. This opens so many new doors and opportunities to me!”
So obviously the best option for my predicament was to spread the PB on the entire face of the bread, leaving no lumps or hills. It was spread so thin. And I’m a heavy PB type of person. Then you have to obviouslycompensate with the jelly, cause then you wouldn’t want too much. Don’t let that jelly take over the sandwich. But I got through it. Wishing I had more PB.
In the last week, my amount of energy has been that of the PB. Scraping around the sides and edges of the jar, its been a challenge to find enough. And still, knowing you have searched everywhere for just enough, you fall short and are spread thin. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, there have been records being shattered all week. Records you don’t particularly like seeing broken, especially if you are running 30 miles a day. From around Corvallis, Oregon to Rochester, Washington (about a week long amount of time), Paul and I have been in very hot weather. Highs have been around 106 degrees, and seem to get hotter. Evidently a heat wave has been coming through the region, and taking a huge toll on us physically. More importantly, it then affects us mentally, and spiritually. Drains our energy and is discouraging.
Just when we were rounding the corner, almost able to see the finish line in sight, we have been tripped up and wondering what to do. Now, I know back in Phoenix, its about 10 degrees hotter, and some of you may be thinking “Come on guys, you are from Phoenix and know this type of weather”. But this heat is very different from the dry heat we experience. It is humid, muggy, the air is still, it clings to you like saran wrap, and looms overhead like a pesky fly. Also, you have to remember that we have been on the coast for the past 2 months, becoming accustomed to the breezy cool weather, where it never rose above 70 degrees. Being outside for 5+ hours while running 30 miles in this weather is down right dangerous.
It may have faltered our steps for a few yards, but it has not made us fall. We have changed our last 11 days and deviated from our schedule. Instead of taking two more scheduled rest days, we have chosen to run on these days so it lowers the average miles for each day. We have also shortened the first 6 runs because of the heat. Hopefully by the time the weather changes, we will then have a little longer runs on the last 5 days to finish out our journey. (As I write this, we have already completed 3 of these runs, and have 8 left). The average will now be 25 miles, and we will have to run the next 11 days in a row to arrive on August 7th. The logistics of this trip are daunting but very crucial. It is going to be a challenge all the way up to the finish line. The most important thing is that we get replenished in more ways than one.
I think all of us have three containers deep within our being that hold the drive and passion that ignites our soul and life. One is cardboard, the other Tupperware, and lastly a glass pitcher. The cardboard box contains tea bags, sugar in the Tupperware, and iced water fills the pitcher. To make refreshing tea (I’m not talking southern sweet tea, cause if I were, we would just add a little tea and water to that sugar), you have to know the right amounts of each to add together. Too much or too littler of one can throw off the entire drink. Not to mention you have to have enough of each as well. If you run out, then it’s off to the store or over to your neighbors for some sugar. The same is true for us.
Deep within we need to be replenished. For us on this trip, Paul and I have to be spiritually, emotionally, and physically strengthened. Without all of these being built up and restored, we cannot go on another day. We must be concious also of how much we pour ourselves out into others. Like serving iced tea to a group of people, you can quickly run out, thus depleting the ingredients and relying on other sources to substitute in to make the drink. Again, the same is true for ourselves. If we are not getting poured into, in these areas, we quickly become tired and worn out. Looking to other areas and ways to meet the demands and needs of others and ourselves. But it doesn’t always mix well. We can see this played out in missionaries, pastors, and even us. If we are constantly serving and pouring into others, who will pour into us?
Physically, I have done everything in my power to get rest each day and let my muscles recover and repair. It has worked good so far. Emotionally I have been really encouraged and loved on by others. Which has also been an amazing thing. Lifting my spirits and giving me joy. But honestly, it hasn’t been all that easy to keep going even with these areas fulfilled. If we rely too heavily on what the world can give us, we will fail. Spiritually it has been a struggle. Somehow, people we stay with and meet seem certain that we are brimming to the top withoverwhelming faith and spiritual joy. Umm… I wish. Don’t we all wish, that at every moment we could just obtain that. We can though, it’s just a matter of how much we actually want it. I’ve too heavily relied on what comes easy to obtain. Sugar and water come easy to produce and get (just like my emotional and physical needs), but tea is precious. It takes time and effort to produce correctly. From the growing, cultivating, collecting, drying, and so on. Like tea, our spirits need care and time. Afterall, without tea, its just sugar water.
P.S. We are almost half way up Washington. Booya!