today was my cross training day in my training schedule.
as I stepped on the elliptical trainer at the unsightly 6:02 am, I looked at the people on either side of me. On the right was a middle aged guy, huffing and puffing in his 28th minute of his workout at a high intensity level 22! (good for you, man!).
to my left was a lady who looked to be about 75, pushing through her workout slowly but surely with what looked like easy effort.
I set up my machine, my notes for my Ezekiel exam tonight, and an old OK! magazine full of juicy and trashy celeb gossip that I already knew from 2 months ago when it was published but figured that I could look at the pictures. I turned on my favorite Carly Rae pandora station and pumped it as loud as I could stand it into my ears and started moving my feet half excited and half dreading the next 45 minutes.
I got through my first page of notes, obviously got bored, and started looking around.
Elliptical retiree to my left had these cards. They were scattered all over her machine in little piles and looked like they came out of a small vera bradley notebook (good taste!). At first glance I thought she may be studying for something as I was. Then I looked closer.
Her lips were silently moving. She would speak something for a while as she looked at a card, and then gently place it in one of her piles.
The cards were all shades of yellow faded cardstock and paper. They had fuzzy edges like they had been used infinite times before and for years and years.
I tried to read the small print (what else was I supposed to do? actually study ezekiel??).
They were prayer cards.
This stopped me mid stride for a moment.
This women, who is likely retired, who is still exercising on a presumably regular basis, got up before the sun in order to work out her body and spend 45 minutes in prayer.
Why don't we all do this?
This woman was praying, as well as taking care of God's creation.
A few years ago I attended a LOM training school in Tahoe. We talked a lot and often about how stewardship of God's creation very much includes taking care of our own bodies as a creation of God. This has stuck with me ever since and runs through my mind often as my legs are on fire and my breathing makes me feel like I'm going to die during a long run. I'm taking care of God's creation.
This woman took that to a whole new level today. Meditation. Devotions. Prayer. All while being a good steward.
There is a hashtag on twitter lately from the hydration company nuun.
while at first I thought this was a little bit much (possibly going too far?), this morning made me think of this differently.
It IS ministry. taking care of your body so that you are strong enough to do God's work and live a Christian life IS ministry.
And what that retiree elliptical woman did today WAS ministry. Anyone who saw her concentration, her prayer cards. Anyone who asked what she was doing, that was ministry.
She was strengthening her body, her prayer life, her relationship with God. All before 7 am.
This has been what I've been thinking about all morning since then.
As I finish my last class as a full-time student tomorrow, I can only hope that as I move into a more practical aspect of ministry that I can take what that woman showed me this morning. Ministry of mind and body.