a sign

"Then God said... 'I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.'"  

- Genesis 9:12-13

I'm not gonna lie. Today was kind of a craptastic day.

I don't even know why, really. Work wasn't terrible. Nothing bad happened to my family or friends. It was just an average, mundane Thursday. Maybe that was the problem. Average. Mundane. I don't know. But I felt melancholy all day and knew that the only thing that could lift my mood would be going for a run when I got home from work.

See, the best runs are the ones when I'm upset and on the verge of tears. When I'm angry. The pounding of my feet against the pavement releases a little of those pent-up emotions with each step. I crank up my music and run away from all my problems. And I knew I needed that today.

I was happy to feel unusually warm air when I stepped outside to do my pre-run stretches. It was sunny and warm enough for a tank top and capris. In February. That in itself lifted my spirits. I slipped in my earbuds and set off down the street, ready for some endorphins to fix me.

I hadn't even gone half a mile when I felt raindrops.


Normally, I would have called it quits and headed back home, but not today. I wasn't about to let some stupid water ruin the only good part of my day. So I pressed on. And despite all the misleading sunlight, the rain fell harder, soaking my clothes, striking my eyes so forcefully I had to blink constantly. But I was determined to not stop. Not today. This run was the only thing in my life that I could control.

As you may have noticed from recent posts, I've been all mopey and introspective because of my twenty-fifth birthday. I've been frustrated and unhappy with my job as a nurse, my singleness, my unfinished bachelor's degree, my living situation, even my dumb short haircut that isn't growing out fast enough. I feel so static. So stuck. And there's nothing I can do about any of those things, because they are all out of my control at this point. The only thing I can do is run. So I wasn't going to let the weather beat me this time.

The rain continued to fall. Water dripped from my hair and trickled down my neck. Droplets streamed through my eyebrows, blurring my vision. My shoes made rude squelching noises. My drenched clothing made me feel twice as heavy, yet I kept going. And I felt all bad-butt as I did so. I wasn't wimping out like I always did. I was in control. I was pushing it so hard, in the pouring rain, that any onlookers would surely think me crazy.

Just as I began to get all metaphorical in my head, thinking about how this run was like life, how I hadn't let life's trials, like the rain, get the best of me, I came upon the biggest hill in my neighborhood. All fired up, I took it on. I trudged along, barely moving but going forward nonetheless. And as I climbed, I grew close to tears. I was so proud. I was so thankful to God for giving me this moment. Even when all else in life was static, I was moving now. 

Finally, I topped the hill. And that's when I saw it. Through a silver sheet of rain, the biggest, most perfect, most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen stretched before me across the sky.

I stopped instantly and stood in the center of the road, breathless, open-mouthed, gazing at the heavens in pure awe. I felt my fingers remove my earbuds, though I don't recall consciously deciding to do so. The rain began to cease around me. The only sound was the pleasant chirping of birds overhead. Everything else became still.

In that moment, my emotions overwhelmed me. The beauty and the hope and the memory of God's promise to Noah in Genesis completely overwhelmed me. The sunlight warmed my rain-soaked skin as hot, salty tears fell from my eyes. All I could think was, this is for me. Oh my goodness. This is for me. I breathed a prayer of thanks to God because I knew, then and there, for the first time in a very long time, that there was hope. That He still had a plan for me. That He had brought me through so much pain and darkness to get me here, in the light, unharmed and stronger than ever. This mediocre life wasn't all I would ever have. Things would be okay. No, better than okay. He would take care of me, He would provide for me, and my future would be beautiful.

Man. It's impossible for me to accurately describe the beauty of that moment. But I had my own little solo worship service. I put my earbuds back in and turned on some Telecast. I couldn't thank God enough for allowing me to have such a powerful, moving experience. For healing my spirit. For restoring my hope.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

 - Jeremiah 29:11