A Man Named Ed (Whose Real Name I Do Not Actually Know)
There’s this little old man who is always at the gym the same time as I am. He wears bright colors and walks on the same treadmill every day and has a slightly hunched back. I don’t know his name or anything about him outside of the gym, but I imagine his name to be Ed. In my weird imagination, Ed reads the newspaper every morning and relaxes on his front porch swing in the evening and plays with his grandkids, who live just down the street.
Back to actual facts about Ed (Other than the fact that his real name is probably not Ed). He has thin white hair and is never without his glasses. Ed doesn’t wear any headphones or watch t.v., but he just stares straight ahead and walks with determination in his gait.
One day, while I am on my second mile in the row behind him, Ed finishes his walk and his excitement is apparent. I glance over to see his workout summary because I’m nosy and want to know why he’s so excited. To my astonishment, Ed just finished a six-mile walk. I make a mental note to run a few more miles than normal because if this little old man can finish six miles, well then a perfectly healthy 20-something should be able to complete a four-mile run without heaving. I quickly focus my attention back on Ed and his excitement. Promptly after stepping off his treadmill, he walks over to a man on my row and points to his treadmill with a smile, obviously speaking about his accomplishment. The younger man nods and congratulates him before Ed makes his way to the other side of the gym and continues the same routine, pointing to his treadmill with gusto. Before he leaves, Ed talks to a few more people who seem genuinely excited for the little old man and his achievement.
And it strikes me that I want to be like Ed.
But I rarely talk to strangers and I don’t wear bright colors.
I am too comfortable in my bubble and in my routines; I like drinking my coffee the same way every morning and working at the same times and wearing neutral colors. I smile at strangers but don’t make excessive conversation, I never run without my headphones and I don’t like trying new foods.
And God so often calls us out of our comfort zones and I so often pretend that he doesn’t.
Right now I can feel the Lord drawing me out from behind my headphones and securities, pulling at my very soul to be more open and honest and authentic. So I am determined to embrace uneasiness and inconveniences. I am determined for this space to be free of masks and pretenses. I feel kind of like a tiny rowboat sailing out into the vast ocean, full of anticipation and excitement and a little bit of horror at the possibilities. But for the first time in a long time, I am purposefully pursuing vulnerability. I am out of comfort zone and I am right where I’m supposed to be.
I think Ed would be proud.