Sunday, March 08, 2009

Unexpected Inspiration

I expected to spend 3 1/2 days in Savannah and Tybee Island and come away inspired. How could I not be inspired by historic buildings, moss covered trees, museums, horse-drawn carriages, and the sound of the waves on the beach? While I loved the time I spent walking the historic district, touring the museums, and sitting on a park bench in Oglethorpe Square, I found myself inspired most by a story on the lighthouse stairs.

As Corinne and I ascended the 178 twisted steps we passed a gentleman taking a short breather on one of the landings. Not long after we reached the top, he opened the door to the watchtower deck. I noticed his heart rate monitor, so I knew he was getting some cardio into his day. As he was a large man, I inquired about his heartrate. (I thought it must be racing.) I was surprised to hear that it was only at 120---immediately after 178 stairs! Then he told us that he had already lost 180 pounds!

In 29 happy years of marriage and a successful chiropractic practice in New York, "Dr. Phil"(as he calls himself) had gone from 200 pounds to over 460. Knowing that he had heart disease in his family, he determined to develop a healthy lifestyle so that he could be around for a good long time. He began slowly. His target heart rate maximum was to be 120 (based on his size and age) and he reached that just by walking from the locker room to the gym floor. Today his goal was not one, but TWO trips to the top of the lighthouse. Talk about perseverence. Lungs, knees, ankles---it all had to hurt after just one trip up all 178 steps. Twice was an admirable goal. His heart rate recovery was impressive--within just a few minutes it was down to the low 90s and he was ready to begin the trek down. He is part of Savannah's Biggest Loser competition--and he intends to win. I believe he will. The ultimate reward, however, is that his health will be fully restored and he will be wholly alive and well for his family.
How easy is it to look at any daunting task and see only the challenge in its entirety! God never intended for His children to be overwhelmed by the challenges He allows. He wants us to look to the Light as we move forward. The reward at the top of the Tybee lighthouse steps is a panoramic view of the island, the ocean, and the bridge to Savannah. The journey is taken one step at a time. As in life, some steps are more difficult than others, and there is sometimes great pain, but the reward is worth the effort. Life's journey ends, not with a panorama of creation, but with eternity with the Creator. The trials and tasks along the way refine us, change our hearts, strengthen our faith, and make us wholly His.

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