Blue & Gold by Taya Gray


My wife Taya posted another blog, and because I’m such a fan of her writing, I thought I’d share it here.  These observations of hers come at the end of a challenging season in the Gray household. Hope you enjoy it.

I took a run this morning. It’s Sunday, so that’s a little unusual for me, but I’ll be traveling pretty consistently for the next 7 weeks so I figured I had better sneak one in. There is something in the landscape of my running route that restores me. There is also a long hill.

About a week ago, Jason told me a story that ended in him saying “Jaime ran for me this morning.”  Apparently my friend Jaime Peterson has a hill on her running route too. She was struggling to run the entire length of it and then she decided that the sacrifice and focus it took her to get up the hill might be easier offered if she dedicated it to someone. Someone that’s on her heart, or in her thoughts.  So she does.  And I’ll bet it’s as good for her getting up that hill as it is for the person on her heart that day.

I thought that was a beautiful idea, but I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it for myself.  My hill is usually conquered with the help of U2, or Prince.  Today , though, as I approached the gradual, boundless incline, I thought I might give Jaime’s idea a try.  It is Sunday, after all.  “I was working part time at a five and dime, my boss was Mr.MGee” sang Prince.  “Ahh, perfect!  Prince is just what I need for this hill!”  (Forgetting about my idea only a moment before about running up the hill for someone.)  There was a lull in the song and I remembered.  “Ok, today I’ll run for Jaime.  Actually Lauren.  And Tim.  And Jordan.  And Jason, of course.  Kristopher, Jacob and Gus.  Actually for Kathy. . . and Mark.  Today, I’ll run this for Grandma, and Grandpa.  For Karla.  For Dad.  Maybe, actually, Mom.  Taryn . . . and Wyatt and Colton.  Well, then, also Katy and Logan and Marley.  Michelle.  Marin, Drew.  Bryant. . . . .”  Add roughly 20 more on to that list and I found myself beyond the top of the hill, feeling really good!  Not doubled over, hyperventilating like I sometimes feel after that long hill.   There is absolutely something to be said about transferring our focus from ourselves to others.  I mean, heck!, I ran all the way up the hill beyond the top and I didn’t have one moment where I thought I would die, or need to stop, or throw up.  I was just suddenly at the top of the hill!

Jaime’s idea is a brilliant one!  I paused my ipod since now Prince was merely an intrusion.  The top of the hill, after all, is maybe my favorite regularly-visited spot in the world right now.  Janesville sets off in the distance.  There are fields as far as the eye can see.  And then I began to weep, not even realizing why at first.  I just assumed I was overcome by the beauty of it all.  And it was beautiful.  Also beautiful is the fact that not long ago I would stand on that very spot, my heart bruised and broken beyond recognition in a thousand tiny pieces.  Grateful for the affliction of the below zero wind-chills, which would somehow seem to numb, or maybe just freeze the pain in me.  Some mornings during that season I wept the entire route, only stopping briefly at the crest of the hill so I could look upon the terrible, frozen beauty of the barren landscape – it was so like me.  And then in the spring when the fields were lost under floods, I too, felt lost under a great flood.  Drowned, drowning.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  I suppose, in a way, it was.

This morning I looked upon a world of blues and golds.  The colors of the harvest season.  And a good harvest it will be!  The stalks stand taller than I do.  I couldn’t help but remember the seasons that came before, for both of us – the fields and me.  And now I understood my tears.  Gratitude.  Gratitude that I am standing at all to measure myself against a golden stalk of corn.  Gratitude that at the tip of my height I, too, bear a shock of gold.    My heart sits in its rightful place in my chest, though a fragile thing and held together all over by tiny, strong sutures of grace, kindness and great love.  It’s good to be a living, breathing thing at the edge of a great harvest.  It’s also good to have a list longer than the length of a daunting, steep hill of people to love over.  Maybe next time I will be able to pick just one.

Jason Gray is a recording artist with Centricity Records. His latest single, out now, is "When I Say Yes".


  1. Paula Shaw

    This is beautiful. Thank you, Taya for writing it. It gives great encouragement. “And now I understood my tears. Gratitude. Gratitude that I am standing at all to measure myself against a golden stalk of corn. Gratitude that at the tip of my height I, too, bear a shock of gold.” God is awesome.

  2. LauraP

    There’s much to be said for surviving a near drowning. The gratitude on the other side of the pain is so sweet. Broken and sewn back together is a pretty good place to be, even on the days when it still feels fragile. Those sutures hold.

  3. Debbie

    WOW Jason & Taya, I bike and hike. As a 12-hour shift nurse old enough to have adult children, I often face my own hills feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I know that this is my calling/gift/talent. Your inspirational post gives me tools to push through. I’m ready to run this race and climb my own hills!

  4. JImB

    I too have a hill like this. Being from Waterville originally I can relate to the beauty of the area standing tall on an hill. I now live in Bloomington and even though the landscape is a lot different it still offers a similar beauty.

    This is also why I no longer run with music. I used to all of the time but I have learned to take this time to gather thoughts, pray for others and so forth. Just as you did.

    I love your writing.

  5. Tony Heringer


    An awesome and a perfect post for me this morning! I ran an extra hilly route today. So reading your thoughts on taking a hill really hits home with me.

    I have a similar mindset when I’m running. My music is blasting and my heart is pumping along to the beat. Many times its Rabbit Room music (Jason, the Andy’s, Aaron, Jill, Ron, Stacy, Melanie, Jill, etc., etc., etc.) but there’s also the Avett Brothers, Weepies, Springsteen, Tom Petty and U2 (to paraphrase “The Ball Game”).. The Rabbit Room music is enhanced by the rabbits I see along the trail. Occasionally I’ll name one – “Look out Jason, here I come!”

    For about a year now my runs have been fueled by a mission that others here in Atlanta got me into. The mission is the fight against commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) here in Atlanta or as my friend Debra Potter likes to say “the rape of children for profit.” Unfortunately, Atlanta is a top city for this heinous act against the little ones that are precious in Jesus sight.

    The folks I’ve been working with are part of a ministry here in Atlanta called Street GRACE.. I recently sent Osenga a link to our website: He and I spoke about this at Hutchmoot and he wanted to see if it was something he could plug into in Nashville.

    The cool thing is that is just what my friends at Street GRACE are trying to do. They are hoping to launch this mission from local to national. Running is one of the means to carry the message out. Here are a couple of links for our running team:

    That last link will give you a chance to get one of our running shirts. It is a visceral reminder for you and those you run with or near that you are running for a purpose. That shirt and this cause has got me up plenty of hills and also will get me into some interesting conversations.

    The other way they are hoping to take this dialogue beyond Atlanta is through film. A local short film director is in the process of completing a project, staring Doug Jones (Pans Labyrinth and Hell Boy), that he is donating to Street GRACE. I had the privilege of hearing the lad speak at a Street GRACE meeting in August and it felt like a session out of Hutchmoot. He talked about the power of story and that he didn’t want to make a documentary about this issue but he felt that a story would be much better to capture the imagination of those who had yet to be engaged in the fight. The folks that inhabit this cyber-pub would have shouted a hearty “huzzah!” or “Hear! Hear!”

    Here’s a link to a documentary about Whitestone Pictures and the film they are making called “The Candy Shop”: Here’s a link with an early preview and more details about this project:

    Once its been launched, it will certainly be worthy of a Rabbit Room post.

    Thanks again Taya, its thoughts like this, to steal a Doobie Brothers line, that keep me running!

  6. Jesse D

    The idea of running a hill for the sake of someone else recalls to me another hill climbed by One for the sake of many. Beautiful gospel image there.

  7. Deb

    I LOVE this Taya!
    Thanks for sharing it with us, it’s beautiful. I shared it with my FIrst Place 4 Health group last night…we’re always looking for new ways to keep ourselves motivated and this is certainly motivational. 🙂 Still praying for you two as you prepare to head out on the BIG tour.

  8. Tony Heringer

    This post came into my mind as I was coming up a hill at lunch today. It was a tough but good morning and this line in :

    “Like the son who thought he’d gone beyond forgiveness,
    Too ashamed to life his head–but if he could lift his head
    He would see his father running from a distance
    In the night my hope lives on”

    The father running, just thinking of our Father running towards me was a stunning moment in that run.

    Thanks again for the inspiration! Maybe we’ll catch up with the Grays on Saturday. It’s great to see J get his due on this tour.

  9. rebecca

    As a wife and mother, I can only think of a few causes that would make my heart feel bruised and broken. Though I never thought, when I became a wife and mother ,that I would ever feel that pain. I read this blog in the middle of feeling that pain and it helped me to know that someone else had felt like that too…and, with God’s mercy and grace, was able to feel alive and joyful again. Thank you for sharing and allowing God to use you to help me.

  10. Tonya

    Wow! So powerfully written and I have been so blessed to have been able to read it. I love the “held together all over by tiny, strong sutures of grace, kindness and great love” part. That is a great analogy! Thank you so much for sharing as it has deeply touched my heart as I’m sure it will touch others as well.

    God bless.

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