Every day she totters the distance from her front door of her farm house, to her mailbox.  Her carefully coiffed grey hair is always appropriately, seasonally covered.  Sometimes by a stocking cap, other times by one of those amazing plastic origami-like rain-bonnets that fold into tiny rectangles and are stored in every grandmother’s purse. (Where do they get those?  i’ve never seen them in the wild…)

Her walker may have snow tires.  I’m not sure, but she makes that trek, every day rain or shine. It takes her about 1/2 hour, round trip.  (I may be even slower when I run.. maybe I should check into a walker for speed work?) I think she’s amazing.

Last week, while I was on my “wun” (walk+run=wun) I watched her  make her trek as I came down the road.  Maybe it was because I miss my grandmother.. maybe it was a holy prompting, but my heart said to : go say “Hi” and hug her.

“Hug her?” I argued with my heart.  “I’m sweaty.. besides, if I stop, my heart rate will slow down and muck up my work out…”

“Hug her.” Came the response. “If she’s close enough, when I get there, I will.” I countered.

It’s possible I slowed my already slow-motion run into a snails pace to avoid the hug. Honestly?  I didn’t want to have her hit the button on her “lifeline” necklace and have the police show up because I had accosted her at the mailbox… well.. that, and I didn’t want to look like a sweaty- nut.

My plan backfired. My slowed pace put me right at the mailbox as she was checking and rechecking it.  There was nothing there.

“Hi” I said, smiling and sticking out my (sweaty)  hand, hoping she’d heard my approach and fearing if she hadn’t, I was at risk of giving her a heart attack… “Hello.” She said “There’s nothing for me today. Did you see if the mail lady already came?  I thought she did, but there’s nothing for me.” Her disappointment was palpable. “Yeah, she already came by…” I offered.. knowing it wasn’t what she wanted to hear.

“Hug her.” Said that little voice, yet again. Tired of arguing with it, I swallowed my fear and stepped closer.

“Well… maybe you didn’t get mail today, but how bout a hug?” I said.. (Wondering where that came from.) I felt like tenth grader asking for a date...”Oh please don’t leave me hanging here lady.. I already feel like an idiot….” I thought. And then re-introduced myself (we’d met before) telling her where I lived… hoping that would lend some credibility to my sweaty offer…She smiled and extended her arms to accept my sweaty offering.

I cannot tell you how relieved was wen she didn’t reach for that button.

“You live where our horses used to be, all this land used to be our farm, you know.” She said.. ..we chatted for a bit and then in a most grandmotherly way she suggested I should put a jacket on.. since my top was so “low cut”  and it was cold out. (I was wearing a running tank… and boiling.. ) I smiled, assured her I was warm enough and helped her lift her walker over the curb. She thanked me, I hugged her again, and she headed back up the long drive.  I turned and continued on my “wun.”

It wasn’t convenient.  It wasn’t comfortable.  But, you know what?  It was wonderful to see her smile. My heart rate may have moved out of “fat burning” range…but it was warmed by knowing I’d made a trip to an empty mailbox a bit brighter…

I wish I always took these little opportunities that sound crazy in my head to reach out to someone…. I wonder how many would end as well as this one?  I wonder what would happen f we all took those tiny risks???

Next week. I think I’ll stick some flowers on her mailbox with a little note… maybe I’ll sign it: your sweaty- low cut – shirt wearing.. new hugging friend… or something like that… ;)

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress … James 1: 22- 27