She seemed somewhat out of place. She is an elderly woman, bent at the waist with stooped, rounded shoulders. Her view of the world comes from looking up, as she twists her neck toward the sky to compensate for the way in which her body is curved toward the ground. Her arms look skinny and frail. Her legs seem pencil thin. Her gait has its own unique cadence.
And yet, yesterday at the “Y,” she became my inspiration. For me, it was one of those “I’m-not-sure-I-have-what-it-takes” kind of days as I faced my exercise routine. The weights seemed heavier. The tasks seemed more arduous, and the laps seemed longer.
And then I saw her. As I was forcing myself not to quit early while walking my laps, I looked down into the fitness center, and there she was – this little, aged, bent-over woman, climbing up to, of all things, the pull up machine. She took hold of the hand grips, stepped up to the platform, grabbed the bars above her head, and there she went – pulling herself up. Once, twice. I slowed my walking pace so that I could count. Twenty pull-ups, in a graceful, strong, sure rhythm.
Who seemed out of place now? Certainly not this little, elderly woman. In a moment, she went, in my mind, from the “stooped-little-woman” to the “pull-up lady.” What a gift. What an inspiration!
I do not know her name. I do not know her story. By the time I finished my laps, she was gone. I may never see her again, but she became for me, an inspiration. God spoke to my heart through her actions, through what I saw in her, and I was reminded that such is the way of God. Sometimes God’s clearest messages for us come in unexpected places through unexpected people. Sometimes our inspiration for the day comes in the midst of the ordinary.
As you go through your day today, I encourage you to look around. See beyond what you normally see. What is there to inspire you? And then remember that someone unexpected may be watching you. What inspiration might you be for that unsuspecting someone? What inspiration might God work in someone else’s life through the ordinariness of who you are and what you do?
God Bless Your Inspiration –
Rev. James A. Wetzstein and Rev. Charlene M. Rachuy Cox serve as university pastors at Valpo and take turns writing weekly reflections.