Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)
TITLE: Strength Training
By Marita Vandertogt
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“Hey” she heard Adam puff the word a few feet behind her. “Hurry up or you’re gonna get too far behind the rest of the group.” She heard the crunch of gravel under his feet as he passed by. She tied the shoe in a double knot, then sprinted back into the race. She knew she’d come in last. She was prepared, after all, she was only doing this because it was supposed to be great therapy.
“Exercise is the best for handling a mild depression.” Her doctor had told her this, while she sat across from him in a sterile white room with no pictures. “Get out there and walk, or jog, or something you enjoy doing. Give it a try and if that doesn’t work, well then we’ll talk some more.”
So she started to run. Every day, first for about a half an hour, and then longer, till now she could do a solid hour without heavy breathing. But the depression was still there, still hung over her thoughts like a cloud refusing to let the sunlight in. The running helped, but it couldn’t push the heavy air from her brain.
So she found herself across from the high polished desk in the sterile white room once more. “I’ve tried doctor, really I have.” She felt a tear push at the corner of her eye, but that’s as far as it would come.
“Okay,” he said, scrawling words across a prescription sheet. “Try this, and see me in a month.”
She took the paper, folded it up and snapped it inside her purse. “There,” she thought. “These will help.”
The following day she took the paper from her purse and handed it to the pharmacist. “I’ll be back in 15 minutes if you think you’ll have it filled by then.”
“Well,” the pharmacist looked at the note and then at her, and then back at the note. “That’s fine, but I’m not sure how I can fill this.” He folded the sheet and handed it back to her.
Julie took the paper which she hadn’t really looked at, and opened it slowly, her eyes a question.
“Like this is going to work,” she said out loud, threw the note in the garbage bin next to the counter, and left the store.
Later that night, she told Adam what had happened. “Well honey, you just make another appointment tomorrow and tell him you want that medication.” He stood tall, his body lean and tan from the outdoors. “I’m headin’ back out to the track tonight. Gonna’ join me?” He asked, filling the water bottle to the top and pulling on the navy blue sweatband that went with his eyes. Adam always looked so well, so healthy. Why couldn’t she just be like him.
“You go ahead,” she told him, walking towards the bedroom. “I’m going to lay down for a while.”
She heard the door close quietly. Then went over and picked the Bible up off the shelf where she kept it dusted, and turned to the New Testament. She began to read out loud. “Rejoice in the Lord.... do not be anxious about anything.... and the peace of God... (Phil. 4:4-8)
Not easy things to do, she thought to herself. And in a lot of ways, takes more energy and focus than the actual running. But if she made this passage her goal, then just possibly the clouds would have to part. It was worth a try. After all, strengthening the outer man took work, hard work, and it paid off.
“Well Lord,” she said as she heard the door open, heard Adam gulping the cool water from what was left in his bottle. “It’s worth a try, with your help of course.”
“How was your run honey,” she heard herself call out to Adam with a bit of a lilt in her voice.
“Great,” he said. “Yah, just great.”
“Mine too,” her voice smiled the words.
“What run,” Adam pulled the band from his eyes. He watched her as her fingers flew across the keys of the laptop.
“Well,” she said, “There’s a women’s group that meets every week at the church. I need to go. That’s the start of my new track run sweetheart.”
“What?” he said from the shower.
“It’s all good.” She whispered back. “It’s all good.”
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