Thursday, March 19, 2009

Run for joy!

People run for a lot of reasons. I suppose they are all good reasons, but I feel like sometimes we just don't really "get it." I am sure that based on the little bit that people know of me, they must think I hop right out of bed when the alarm goes off between 4:00 and 4:30am. I bet they think I sleep in my running shoes and cannot think for one second of something I would rather do than run. I can assure you, at 4 o' clock in the morning there are LOTS of things I would rather do...... Sleep being quite high on that list. What's interesting about running is that you don't really love it until you've already done it for the day. At 4 am, I hate running.

Sometimes- not at 4 am, mind you- I think that it is such a shame that I have to have a reason to run. I think it's sad that only once in a blue moon do I actually pause and reflect on the "gift" that is running. I was reading today about men and women who have served in Iraq, people who will most likely never run again. I read about people who lost body parts, lost their vision, experienced horrible, unimaginable things, suffer from diminished mental capacity, and perhaps worst of all, people who have lost a joy for life. We live in a weird time right now, a scary time. Many people have experienced great loss and despair. We do not, however, live in a hopeless time. We don't live in a time when joy should be far from our hearts. That time does not exist.

Yesterday, my nephew (2 yrs old) picked out a Giant dump truck for his birthday present. As we left the store, he bent over to push the dump truck and ran with all his heart across the parking lot, Baby Bear safely tucked into the cab. When we reached the car, he stood up, smiled and said simply, "Play truck, Aunt Bec!"

It's just that simple, isn't it? The world is going to spin, the seasons are going to change, we will experience sorrow and loss, we'll grow old. But when we look back, I think it is the greatest loss if we look back and see anything less than joy. If we look back and see that we set our sights on silly, tangible things and missed the forest for the trees. Joy in life is right there, waiting for us to grab the moments and store them in our hearts for tough times. I ran with joy this morning. I felt the power in my legs, the camraderie of my friends. The breeze was just perfect and I was free to let my mind wonder. I could feel the rhythm of the pavement pounding under me and us breathing, making our own special music. The dog looked at me and I swear she winked at me. She knew. Dogs get it.... little kids do too. Running is freedom, it's escape, it's proof that you can do anything you put your mind to.

I hope and pray you run with true JOY in your heart. That you cherish the "gift" that is running and you face each day knowing that promise and possbility lie before you. Focus your mind on the sweet things in life and glory in moments that make you smile.

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