The Pony-Tail

My wife jokingly referred to her as the "Pony-Tail". I had seen her on numerous occasions in the neighbourhood of the university campus and adjacent park. She was college age, dressed in jogging attire and loping the miles away. I found her strikingly attractive. This Hilary could tell, and I received not a few gentle jabs from my wife, all in good humour.

To be frank the thing that really caught my attention was the apparent total lack of self-awareness in her activities. Her stride was ambitious; her upper body and arms were relaxed and purposeful (something many joggers miss); her face registered confidence and contentment; her blonde pony-tail swayed from side to side like a metronome. She never seemed to be impacted by the weather. She just liked running.

Don't get the impression that I was stalking her, O.K? We just kept on encountering her in our various travels.

How often I have seen good-looking men or women who apparently know that they are good-looking, or good joggers, or well-dressed or good on the tennis court or good at their gardening, or good in their church work. The list goes on. I do not admire these vain ones. I must check myself from time to time about certain things. Showing self off is ugly.

Now take this message from God's point of view. He has given a skill or an attribute and he watches His child use it with natural flair and enthusiasm. This must be His delight. I imagine God in the bleachers at the Olympics watching the pole-vaulter breaking the world's record. He remembers the little girl jumping creeks at the back of the farm. He smiles at the healthy and purposeful development of a talent.

I often think of one of my favourite films, "Chariots of Fire" telling the story of the Scottish gold medalist Eric Liddell. After a successful track event he tells his sister, "God made me fast, and when I win I feel his pleasure." Liddell went on to serve and die in the Chinese mission field.

Now concerning natural talents I have personally struggled through the debate of whether they are to be abandoned after salvation as some sort of distraction from holy endeavour, or whether they are to be pursued as avenues of personal development and access to other souls of similar interest. I find myself in the latter camp. (See the poem posted under the title "Gifted")

I suspect that "Pony-Tail" has long since graduated, married, excelled at career and/or child-rearing with the confident, selfless, up-to-it enthusiasm and beauty which she displayed in her Nike runners.


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