I ran this morning for the first time since turning 40-yrs-old this past Saturday. I’m training for the LA Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K on 10/29. It’s the first of ten official races I plan on running over the year between my recent milestone birthday and the milestone 10th anniversary of My Refuge House in September 2018.

While I expected to think about what it feels like to be 40, I found myself thinking about Hope today. I found myself thinking about what I often call my deep well of Hope. It’s not something I take for granted, and I’m often quite clear about the role it plays in my work as a family therapist and as CEO of My Refuge House. We bear witness to and hold some of the most painful and unthinkable stories, and today I found myself wondering if the well of Hope is transferable to something like the shootings in Las Vegas.

There is brokenness in our world. There seems to be so much of it lately. From hurricanes, to earthquakes, to shootings, to volcanoes, to human trafficking, to political and social divisiveness, to the unexpected unfriending on facebook…my feelers are out and sensing the pain and hurt. I have been waking up feeling swollen from taking it all in.

Yet I have Hope.

Why? Is there some way I might bear witness to Hope in a way that it can flow into the world more…in a way that it could flow to you and fill you up more.

During grad school at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, I ran around Seneca Park in Louisville, KY. Seneca offers a perfect and scenic flat mile loop around a park with ball fields and open spaces. When I first arrived at the park before each run, I looked around the loop and assessed the direction in which most people were running. I then ran the opposite direction. I did this so I could make eye contact and say hi to more people. I remembered this today while running a not-so-flat mile. During my run this morning, I made eye contact with a neighbor, a security guard, two homeless men, a couple nurses, a handful of drivers, another runner, and some random guy out for a walk listening to a podcast on speakerphone.

I am not alone on this planet. I am not alone in my desire to make meaningful (even if fleeting) connections with others. I am not alone in my determination that the world can be a more loving place for all of us. I know this because every one of the people who made eye contact with me today told me this with their eyes, and I told them. As long as there are at least two of us, I have Hope.

Heather Headshot

Heather Bland CEO, My Refuge House

Inspired by How Full Is Your Bucket?, A Drop For Your Bucket offers a somewhat stream of conscious peek into my brain and heart during my training “adventures”. Between my 40th birthday in October of 2017 and the 10th anniversary of My Refuge House in September of 2018, I will run 10 different races. My hope is to gather friends along the way who will either run with me or cheer us on as we raise awareness about the journey of My Refuge House! I hope you will receive at least drop of inspiration in each of these raw reflections. Thank you for reading and pondering.