Yes...as in Gump.
Many of my closest friends, coworkers, and bosses are runners. My daughter is on the XC team. My son chooses sports by the amount of running required...and will pass up sports on smaller playing fields. Not enough running.
The last time I ran for exercise was probably 1993, back when I was playing college sports. It was always a punishment, especially in college...sometimes resulting in post-run spew. My coach loved when she ran me to the point of vomiting, because she was sensitive like that. "Run to the water tower and back, Tina" (the water tower looked like a marshmallow from where we began, that's how far away it was) or "run around the fieldhouse until I tell you to stop, Tina" or "just start running, I don't care where the hell you run, just get away from me". Awww, Coach...you were such the beacon of loving tenderness. I think of you often, like when I'm making a mental list of people I'm sorry I didn't punch in the face prior to coming to Christ.
So I asked my daughter what she liked about running. "I get to be with God, Mommy." Hmm, I'm listening. I so want that time with God, but when I try to get in that zone, a dog will need outside, a cat will walk across my lap, or a bill collector will call. Without fail. Plus, the last time I tried to run for exercise, I lost feeling in my legs, couldn't keep my feet moving in the right pattern, tripped, and fell. Hard.
Last night, I was in the company of a very dear friend, who also happens to be a runner. She's one of those genuine friends who asks how you're doing and pushes through the trademark "fine, and you?" response. I shared that our basement flooded with about 2' of water, causing us to incur more financial traumas, our house smelled of mucky groundwater despite the hours of cleaning, and my eyesight has gotten a bit worse over the course of a couple weeks, instead of better. I have to close my left eye in order to read. Bet she wished she'd have left it alone, right? Because I'm depressed right now. Highly. Or would that be "lowly". Depressed and afraid. But just her asking...and sticking around for the answer, not rushing me along or exiting stage left...meant the world to me. I believe God reaches out to us through others, and this is just one of the many times He's worked through her:-)
We eventually got to talking about running and I said I'd love if I could do it. She extended the invitation to run with her and another mutual friend. "But I can't run." The conversation continued. "I wish I could run." And yet more conversation. "Maybe in a year, I can build up to being able to run further than just..." To which she said, "okay, I'm holding you to that." Crap.
So here I am, mentally preparing to run. Looking outside, I see a beautiful sunny day...trees are changing colors...there's a brisk breeze...all the makings of a 1000 piece puzzle. But the road says, "I'm just as abrasive and unforgiving now as I was the last time you tried that. And now, you can't even see 100% out of that pretty little hazel eye of yours! Don't worry, silly lady with ms...I'm here for ya, stones and all!"
Stupid road. Don't you know if I'm made to feel as if I can't do something, or as if a task is too large for me to tackle, or as if I'm trapped in some way...it touches my inner Freakshow button? And I'm going to fight that much harder? But don't think I'm not considering putting my son's hockey helmet and pads on, in case I trip and "attack the road" again. I wonder if that would bring about the following call:
Operator: "9-1-1, what is your emergency?"
Citizen: "um, there's a woman running down the road in a hockey helmet, elbow pads, and shin guards. Oh, and she's wearing sunglasses. I think she's escaped from the asylum. And I'm concerned for my children."
Operator: "we'll send someone right out, sir. Stay with me on the line, and remain calm."
My dear friend, Debbie: I'm off to begin my training so that I might someday run with you. MS is busy with my eye right now, and with depressing the heck out of me. That should mean the legs are free to do as they wish. I love you for always taking the risk of asking how I am...how I REALLY am. Yesterday, I prayed and asked God to let me feel His presence. Thanks for being the "light" He chose in order to show me that...He's with me.
Game on, road!