I started running about 6 years ago. It was and still is hard for me. When I started I could barely run to the end of the street. I remember how thrilled I was when I could run a whole mile. I had always exercised my whole life, but it consisted of speed walking and stair stepping. Running (or jogging in my case) has been a mental and physical feat that I still battle with. So you can imagine last fall I was ecstatic to be running 10 miles at a time. I was training to do the Thanksgiving Day half marathon. But running went on the back-burner when my Mom got worse and then died in December.
I didn't run for 4 months.
Every time I tried to run, I had to stop. It was really hard. I couldn't figure out why my body was so tired. Duh! I knew that mentally grief had overrun me. I was forgetting things, (still am) couldn't think of words, and then some things just didn't seem that important to me. I went from sleeping really good and being exhausted during the day to not sleeping well at all. Now I fluctuate between the two. I thought that I was doing good with the whole sadness issue only to find myself struggling with it more. It wasn't until last month at a routine check-up that my doctor asked me if I had experienced any stress lately when I was asking her about some issues I had, when I put two and two together. My body didn't want to run.
That made me mad.
Something I had worked so hard and and had set goals for I was struggling with. Big deal right? For me it is a stress reliever. It is something that challenges me. It is something I feel I can accomplish. It is something I can set goals for. I, I, I,----me, me, me. Here I am walking nearly every run.
A few weeks ago I was running on a Wednesday morning. I was determined to do my 6 miles and not stop no matter what. I ran up a long hill in our subdivision and then slowed down. I was still running but at a snail's pace. I always joke that people must see me and wonder how a person can run so slow. And then, even in my snail's pace, my legs were hurting so bad. I refused to walk. Then I felt like God was asking me why I run? What is wrong with having to walk sometimes? Is this a big deal? What is better for me? To grieve like I need to or to run like I want to? So I stopped my snail's pace and walked. Then the most beautiful fragrance hit me. We have a long row of magnolia trees planted towards the back of the neighborhood and the blooms were just starting to open up. It was so sweet I had to stand and just smell. The perfume was perfect. The blooms were beautiful. I knew that if I had still been running I wouldn't have smelled them or seen them.
The rest of my walk was perfect. I spent the time praying. I thanked God for my legs. I thanked Him that I could walk. I thanked Him that I could run. I thanked Him for the fragrance of the magnolias. I thanked Him for His creation. I thanked Him for grief. I thanked Him for speaking to me.
I have learned that grief is a terrible thing to waste. It is hard and it is getting harder. I feel like I am just now climbing up the grief hill. I am not afraid of the pinnacle though. I also so know I can't do it without God. I know too that He grieves with me. Sometimes I will be able to run and sometimes I'll just have to walk. Both are good. Either way it isn't about me.
Whether I walk or I run, my desire is that my life is a sweet, pleasing fragrance to God.
So I run because I enjoy it. I set goals because I can. I walk to slow my life. I grieve because He enables me. All of this He allows me to do for the time being. Because acting spoiled makes me miss the aroma of His Spirit--which is always there for me.
So if you see me running, good. If you see me walking, even better. If you see me running fast, it probably isn't me :) If you see me crying when I am running, I am just talented. Sooooo.....
May we smell the magnolia's before we are too tired. May we be the magnolia's to God through our gratefulness in Christ's sacrifice. Always sweet, always fragrant, always blooming......whether running or walking.