I remember the anxiety I felt with the thought of walking Joelle to school every day. This was just prior to her kindergarten years. And indeed I struggled. Each walk back from school I thought, “When I get home I gotta rest.” Joelle’s school is barely a half a block away from our house. Everyday, I would get home and sit down for five to ten minutes just to recover. More if it was a cold winter day.

That was four years ago

Two years ago, while Joelle was taking swimming lessons, I decided instead of just waiting by the side of the pool, I would jump in and try to swim a bit. My goal was modest, to see if I can make the width of the pool. All I did was half a width. But it got me going. After a month I made the width and I thought to myself, I am going to try to make the length by the end of summer. One the last day I did it.

Then Joelle took up basketball. I would shoot around with her and got winded very easily. But I had the motive to get better because I wanted to keep up with her. Last fall I started going to the gym by myself. I shoot around and sat down every time I got winded (about 15 minutes at first). I thought, “I would be pleased if I could shoot around for an hour without having to sit down.” And it happened. I shot around a whole hour. No running, nothing quick but I shot shots. Then a thought entered my head, “Why don’t you try running (slowly) up and down the court.” It was a scary thought, as I hadn’t tried running in several years. I always overstressed my lungs. A walk was all I thought I had.

But I tried, once up and then back the length of the court. When I got back to my original spot under the basket, I went to the side, sat down and took five minutes to get the wind back and stop the burning in my lungs. Then I thought, “I am going to go for more.” I had the goal of ten lengths of the court. I made that. So I went for twenty. Took me a while. Often I had thought, “I am not going to make it but it is good just to shoot for it.” End of last year I did it. Then I did some research and found out about 63 lengths of a high school court is one mile. I divided that in half and came up with my new goal – 31.5 lengths.

Truthfully, if anyone told me I would be doing a half a mile I would had thought, “You don’t know what I have or how futile all attempts have been. You don’t know about my connective tissue disorder that took away 50% of my lung capacity and that my lungs are filled with scars that will never function again.” Many times I got winded just getting out of bed! How would I ever do a half a mile.

And today, April 11th at 10:30 in the mornings, I did 31.5 lengths of the court.

That is the background of my facebook post: I’m weeping in rejoicing. 31.5 = one half mile. I’m sitting here alone in the gym weeping.

I have been weeping as I write this out now. Because I am the recipient of an amazing moment, I am struck so powerfully in this moment.

Now one practical correlation to all this is that I have not had a cold or flu for over two years. I don’t know why. I am not taking any magic medicine and my diet is not any better. I just simply have not. This is significant because in the past any attempts to improve my lungs would be thwarted by a simple cold that went through the Warden household. Joelle would be over it in a few days. Likewise my wife would be done with her cold in four. But for me, my immune system couldn’t fight it off and I would have it for months. Then my lungs would be more inflamed and the coughing would do damage. It was two steps forward and three steps back. That was the cycle of all past attempts to getting stronger. I wasn’t getting anywhere but worse. The mystery is that I haven’t had the common cold or flu for two years and those years my body has made these advances.

I give full credit to many saints at that time who were praying for me. “The prayer of a righteous one avails much,” as James wrote. No words can express my gratitude.

I have been told that perhaps this renewal of strength in my body is so that I can have the energy to go places to speak and promote Resisting Grace.
Grace is not given so that we can do his bidding – My God is not a utilitarian.

Another has alluded that it is a gift for my faithfulness.
Nor is grace given as a pat on the head for being a good boy. My God is not patronizing.

Sometimes grace is simply like rain. All I can do is collect it, appreciate it and use it to make the most of what I have.

And worship.

Seeds and Tears I B