Wednesday, January 13, 2010
On The Run
When the weather is reasonable on Mondays the baby and I like to run while the big kids are at preschool. The bike trail offers straight, flat, marked miles and enough quiet for me to shed my pretense and talk to God while my body is otherwise occupied shuffling along, pushing the stroller. I have done that particular run enough to have noticed a pattern.
Mile one is all cobwebs. My body is stiff with cold and unuse, neck tense from the grand drama that is leaving the house in the morning. My mind is preoccupied with list, chores, and unfulfilled ambitions overlaid with a thin fog of guilt as I replay bits and pieces of the morning. Mile one is basically a loss, except that it is the unavoidable prelude to mile two.
Mile two finds my body and my mind settling in. Mile two usually sees some earnest but distracted attempts at prayer. Turns out I need a little more time and fresh air before I will be ready to really focus. So I shake my shoulders and sing along to whatever the iPod offers, throwing sharp elbows at ghosts from the home front who intend to interrupt the few minutes I have alone.
By mile three my body has warmed up. My stride stretches slightly. I look for the turn around. I let everything, including my pace, relax in anticipation of the midway point. At the end of mile three I will be facing home which has great psychological effects.
Miles four and five are the good stuff. My body is finally numb enough and my mind moves to the fore. I find that I am ready to talk and listen to God. And the matters that need to be discussed break the dam, flowing fast, washing me in goose bumps and knotting my stomach with appropriate urgency. With a clear mind and home on the horizon I am able to go deep.
The last mile usually burns. And I think about quitting. Or at least slowing to catch my breath. But home is ahead and I just want to be done. So I speed up. My stomach turns and I break the distance into counts of twenty. So it is with life. The good stuff is embedded. We have to go the distance. There is no way to skip ahead, or finish early. And so we run.
“ . . . and so let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1