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