There's snow on the ground this morning. Beautiful snow. The schools are having a two-hour late start. And my first thought when I got on the computer this morning was, "Jim's running in this snow!"
Jim Ellis is my eldest's former middle school pastor. He's a runner -- a serious runner. He's on this crazy, awesome venture this year that he's calling "Awake My Sole" -- running across the state of Iowa and back, with all his "luggage" strapped into a rigged up baby stroller, stopping at various cities to speak on the way. Here's the website if you're interested. He intends to write a book about it all when he's done.
This guy is pretty amazing. And not just the running thing, although the running thing is pretty amazing, too. He runs long distances in all kinds of weather, just for the fun of it. He was even into a barefoot running thing there for a while, although I'm pretty confident he's not running barefoot these days.
But he's amazing just because of the kind of guy he is. He loved on those middle school kids like no one's business (I mean, in a good way, not a creepy way). He encouraged them to serve their community -- and he led by example. Last year, he and a group of friends did one service project a month. In May or so, it was collecting . . . 40, I think? . . . 40 mattresses for people who needed them. They just found out there was a need and went and did something about it. That's what he's like. Neat guy.
Very neat guy, but kind of kooky to try to run 30-some miles in this weather. Fortunately, I just checked his schedule and realized that last week was a writing week for him, and he's not running again until next Monday. Whew! But I expect that next Monday, if the weather's like this, he will still run, if for no other reason then just because so darn many people know he's supposed to run to Storm Lake that morning and he won't want to wimp out in front of them all. (Although I hope he is wise enough to back off of the plan if it really is dangerous.) There is value in proclaiming your goals and best intentions to the world for accountability.
Kooky isn't the word, I suppose. Bold? Courageous? Determined? For all his determination, I bet he was happy when he saw the snow this morning and knew he didn't have to run in it.
I'm praying today that he stays healthy and safe on this venture. I'm praying that God blesses his efforts by speaking to the people of Iowa through him. I'm praying that God blesses him himself for his faithfulness. And I'm praying that God will awake my soul and make me more like Jim Ellis.