This word has been spoken more often at my house lately– ever since each of my children received a fitbit as a Christmas gift from their Grandparents (no hoverboards here, thankyouverymuch!). One child in particular has embraced the fitbit more than the others, and if you know Charlie Doyle personally, it will not surprise you that he is that child.
Since it is soccer’s off-season, Charlie is participating in conditioning on Saturday mornings before his Futsal games. This past Saturday, Charlie logged 6,500 steps between 9:00 and 10:00 am. (I think by Noon he had 9,000.) We have no idea how many could have been logged during his Futsal game, given that in the fast-paced, small court nature of Futsal, Charlie touched the ball what seemed like 1,000 times. During the game, Charlie’s soccer coach even came over to joke about the number of steps he had logged that morning during conditioning, and how he was still going so strong. He playfully suggested that maybe next time, we should hide Charlie’s fitbit beneath his sock to see how many he could log during actual games.
The next day was Sunday, the last official day of winter break. The first Sunday in January is a day when we are definitely tempted to sleep in and enjoy the final days of morning slumber before the rat race commences again. But because it was Epiphany Sunday — when the church celebrates the Magi following the starlight to find the Christ Child — I was determined to make it to worship. It is one of my favorite Sundays in the church calendar. I even signed up Charlie to serve as Acolyte, ensuring at least one of my children would be in worship with me. Plus I secretly loved the symbolism of acolyting on Epiphany Sunday — a child lighting the altar candles to symbolize Christ’s presence with us during worship, and then at the end of the service taking the light out into the world in which we are called to serve and witness to the Light. And Lord knows, the world so badly needs it.
In all transparency, I have to admit that Charlie was not overly-thrilled with me preventing him from staying home to sleep in like his brother and sister. But he obliged and hurriedly got dressed– with one last accessory: his fitbit. Snapping it onto his wrist, it dawned on me that this particular hour would yield far less “steps” than the hour Charlie spent at conditioning the previous day. I laughed about it on our way out the door…
We arrived at the Sanctuary (on time, amazingly), and after helping Charlie with his robe and checking the taper in his candle lighter, I took my place in the pew. Our organist began a Prelude by Pachelbel, and as I watched Charlie process toward the altar (with an adorable girl his age, I might add ), I thought about the steps he was logging on his fitbit. His procession up the aisle stirred me to think about the “steps” we take daily, and how meaningful they are — whether we are stepping in the right direction, or whether we are taking steps toward a direction we should avoid.
It is true, I thought. Steps do matter.
Steps matter very much — every hour of every day.
And our steps not only have an impact on us,
but on the people around us.
So when we got home from church and were about to enter the house, I asked Charlie to stop and check his fitbit. I wanted to know how many steps he had logged in our little excursion together that morning. 884. He logged 884 in that one hour of worship… only 884 compared to 6,500 in one hour the preceding day.
But here’s the thing that matters most to me:
The 6,500 steps during conditioning were good for Charlie Doyle’s heart.
And those little 884 steps where he served during worship?
They were good for Charlie Doyle’s HEART.
So it seems the fitbit taught me a beautiful lesson:
Some steps we take are good for our own hearts. While other steps we take can be good for our own hearts and the hearts of others. And sometimes fewer steps lead to greater purpose. So in this New Year, I am going to strive to take steps that matter. Steps with a purpose. I might not be logging them on a fitbit, but I will be logging them in my heart…and hopefully in the hearts of those I love. I encourage you to do the same.
Happy, heart-healthy 2016 from In The Messy…
“Order my steps in thy word:
and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”
~ Psalm 119:133