Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thoughts While Running

I went running this morning, taking my 8.5 and 6 yo with me in order to get it in. Mercifully, the baby slept in-- the other two don't seem to know how to do that. And so, making the best of a dull moment and knowing I absolutely needed to tear myself away from the computer and them from the tv, I suggested they ride their bikes while I ran. (Just so you know, the baby was not left at home alone in her crib-- the 13 and 11 yo were here with her.) Some of you have asked me how I find time to exercise-- and this is just an example of how I do-- I fit it in anywhere I can.

Today my 6yo son asked me when I finished running, "Mom, doesn't that make your legs hurt?"

I nodded and added, "And my chest and my stomach and pretty much my whole body."

"So, why do you do it?" he asked.

"Well, because it is good for me and it helps keep me healthy. And hopefully it will keep me from being old before my time."

He thought about that. "Will it keep you from getting a heart attack?"

"It can," I said.

He gave me the thumbs up. "Good job, mom," he said, "Good job."

While I ran, I had some pretty deep thoughts run through my brain. (In the interest of full disclosure, please know that deep for me is not necessarily deep for others.) Running makes me think. It frees up my brain from the work it is usually doing and moves all the junk out of the aisles so thoughts can move freely about the cabin once again. I have found that when I have writer's block, a run will clear it right up-- try it sometime!

If you do decide to go out running in the summer, here are some ways I have learned that you can get over an imminent case of heatstroke:

1) walk around in circles in your house, panting loudly

2) turn on your ceiling fan and lie under it on your bed, panting loudly

3) gulp down glasses of water, panting loudly between sips

Ok, now that I have recovered from heatstroke sufficiently enough to type, here are my deep thoughts:

Deep thought #1:

The children, as I said, rode their bikes while I ran. This meant that I was behind them most of the way, watching them zip along ahead of me, out of my reach and sometimes out of my voice range-- though I can yell pretty loud, make no mistake about it! I called out helpful things like, "Get on the grass when a car goes by." And, "You need to stay where I can see you at all times." At one point we got to a big downhill part of our route. I warned them that they needed to know where their brakes were at all times, just in case they needed them. "Ride your brakes!" I would holler. And as I watched them flying down the hill-- far away from my ability to physically reach them-- their hair whipping in the wind and their excited squeals punctuating the air, I realized, This is a picture of parenting. You prepare them, you show them where the brakes are, and then you send them off-- out of your reach, but not out of God's. You do a lot of praying and you hope that, when the time comes, they will remember your warnings and ride those brakes if they need to. It reminded me of this song that is possibly cheesy but don't tell me-- I like it.

Deep thought #2:

As we passed a driveway, my daughter noticed a footprint in it, forever frozen in the cement. "How did that footprint get there?" she asked.

"Well," I said, "Someone stepped in it while it was still wet and it stayed when the cement dried." I looked at her and smiled. "That's what I am trying to do with you guys," I said, "Leave my footprint on your heart while you are young-- before your little hearts get harder and you get more set in your ways. Someday, I hope you will remember all the things I have said to you about loving Jesus and being a certain kind of person. And that will be like that footprint, frozen in your life forever, so you can't forget." She smiled back at me and did that "my mom's so weird" little shake of her head and rode on. What a moment.

Deep thought #3:

As I ran, this song came on. (What can I say? I love it when Mick sings, "What'll I do without ya?") It took me back to a time in my life when this song was popular, to a place in my life I would rather forget but is no less a part of who I am. This was a place where I looked to men (boys really) to define me, to validate me, to give me purpose. I wanted them to fill me up with what I lacked. How many times did I wonder where the one was, when THE ONE I searched for was right beside me, patiently waiting for me to notice Him. He never inserted Himself in my life, He just waited for me to stop searching for some sort of Holy Grail of relationships and turn to Him. As I thought about that time in my life, I felt bad for the people I hurt during that time-- the guys I was drawn to were no wholer or capable of dealing with my repressed anger, unresolved feelings and rampant insecurity than I was. And yes, that includes my poor, longsuffering husband-- who came in and put a stop to all the wondering and wandering but not to the "complete me, fulfill me, meet my every need" romance novel idea of love I still carried around.

But that's a post for another time. Possibly a book.

And then, the very next song that came on my Ipod (because I am eclectic in my music tastes and so this is pretty normal) was Mighty To Save. As I listened to the words about this Savior who moves mountains, I thought about the emotional mountains He has moved in my life. From angry and insecure and emotionally unstable college girl to less angry, less insecure and less emotionally unstable woman. (Hey, I am a work in progress.) From despair to joy. From hopeless to hopeful. And as I ran, I raised my arms in worship, praising Him for bringing me this far. Thanking Him for His promise to take me the rest of the way.

So take me as you find me
All my fears and failures
And fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender
Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever, Author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave
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Laura said...

This and your previous post have just done me in. Your heart is so precious. Thank you for blessing me today.

Anonymous said...

Makes me want to take up running.
I took up Tae Bo with the kids today--I blogged about it!

Renata said...

Thanks for sharing this! Definitely something I struggle with is the letting the kids go - I need to remember that God is always with them.
Hope you recover from your run!!
Renata :)

Truth4thejourney said...

I really enjoyed your post this morning! You really are a work in progress when you are aware that God is in every situation and circumstance.

You are leaving your footprint on the hearts of your children, and because of you relationship with the Father you are also leaving His, as well. :)

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Wonderful deep thoughts, and good for you getting exercise in and being a good example to your kids.

Wrinkled Shirt Ministries said...

Marybeth, This is an awesome post. I love the truths that you shared with your kids. I do have to comment on the leaving baby at home issue. I used to walk every morning after I dropped the oldest off at school. Sometimes I would run back in the house to do a few things then walk so my time varied in a 2 hour window. Well the children's pastors of our new church live 2 doors down and every morning I would see them through their window or yard and wave. This went on for about 6 months. She knew the ages of my children so she knew I still had a baby at home. One day she walked outside and stopped me with a very concerned look on her face. She said, "I have to ask you, how do you get to walk everyday by yourself and where's your baby?" She did not know that I'm blessed to have a husband who works from home. I teased her at first by telling her that I just let the baby sleep while I walk. Then I told her about hubby. You should've seen the look on her face. Priceless. I could see that same look on your reader's faces this morning until you explained.
Paula G. <>< said...

I love your analogy with the footprint. Very fitting!

Sometimes the daily realization of that is overwhelming for me, but I'm thankful that I have God to help me through it (who am I kidding.. he does most of the work).

KelliGirl said...

What a great visual you painted. It almost makes me want to take up running (although walking does the trick for me sometimes, too. :-)

We're visiting my sister in St. Pete, FL and I was just watching my children joyfully play in the pool as I wrote. In such a simple moment in life, there was such joy in their splashing and laughter.

Also, please forgive me. In the post-She Speaks haze, I think I've been an "overaggressive" commenter. I'm really not stalking you!!

Christine said...

Wow, I am impressed! The only thing I'd be thinking if you ever caught me running would be, "Who's chasing me???"

Seriously though, I love the footprint image in the cement. I'll be thinking on that all day!

Marla Taviano said...

Oooooh, Marybeth, I like you more and more every second!!

I meant to comment earlier in the week and tell you that your session was one of my favorites last weekend. Out of everybody I heard, I can relate to you the absolute most. (just double my kid load, and we're practically twins)

I just read yesterday's post and then the running one. Oh, I adore you. And I can't seem to put it into words. I feel like I'm pretending every time I speak somewhere or people find out I write books (real ones! ack!). And I love running (reaaaally slowly) and talking to God and sorting through my life and letting Him speak brilliant writing ideas right to my very soul.

I just love you to bits. Someday we'll have to sit and chat for reals.

Starr said...

That was an awesome post! Thanks for sharing. I just graduated my oldest from our homeschool and have one in kindergarten. I can certainly relate to letting them go. It is tough.

Manda said...

I love this post so much! People who don't work out don't know the blessing they are missing. I'm a runner, too (sometimes with my 20-month-old girl, sometimes she's with my husband). Anyway, I don't remember how I found your blog. . . but I'm glad I did.