I’m going to just go ahead and say it. I hate running. Actually, most things that could be called exercise fall into the hate category. Don’t give me the whole “Hate is a pretty strong word. We shouldn’t hate” kick. I know hate and this is the closest equivalent word in the English language to how I feel about running. I’m sure the Germans have a really great word for my exact feeling, but I’m sure it’s too guttural, has about 37 umlauts, and would take up an entire line. English will have to do.
Back to running. I tend to only run when not doing so would mean a drastic shortening of my life span. Still, on occasion, I suffer from severe lapses in judgement. A wonderful example would be when I decided that for once in my life, I would healthy. I would take control of my destiny. I (feel free to insert inspirational music in the background here) would become a runner. Most of this completely uncharacteristic desire came from the encouragement of a good friend of mine. He ran, enjoyed it, and I felt that perhaps if I joined him on this endeavor, I too could become a better person.
On the morning I was supposed to begin my transformation from a gelatinous mass into a fit human being, I rose early with the knowledge that one does not simply wake up a great runner. One has to work up to that. I was content to be a moderately untalented runner in the beginning. I was going to run for a half a mile. Off I went, with a happy heart, some beat up shoes and a pocketful of miracles. There was a hole in my pocket. Say what you will about my physical state, but as I rounded the 1/4 mile mark, my body rebelled.
It was as if my body finally snapped back into sanity. “What are you doing with me? You know we don’t like running. We had this discussion back in 8th grade. This isn’t fun. All right. Fine. If you’re going to do something I don’t like, I can turn that around. I seem to recall your forgetting to stretch. How about a few cramps?” My muscles suddenly developed the amazing mutant ability to snap into a million knots. My stomach, in protest to not being fed anything before this little jaunt, decided that the nearest front yard was the perfect place to empty what little contents it had…repeatedly. I actually lost the ability to see and my heart apparently relocated to my ears. I managed to make it home. I also managed to stick out running for a week; actually getting to about a mile and a half. Strangely, my body stopped trying to kill me. My running career ended, however, when I went for a run with my friend. I still wasn’t ready to go with the big dogs. A bit over three miles was more than my body could handle and, after an experience similar to my first day, I hung up my running shoes, probably for good.
My particular place in life right now feels very similar to my first day of running. I know what I’m going through is for my own good. Somehow it all has meaning, but at the moment, I feel a bit like retching. I’m stressed, confused, discontent. I feel guilty for being discontent. I can’t help but wonder if I’m holding off because its what God wants or because I’m too scared to step out. I’m in some sort of training, and I know if I keep pushing through I’ll make it but, good Lord, I swear I’m going to die on someone’s front lawn before I get through. I know that the Bible promises to rise up on wings like eagles but right now, I think I’ll curl up in the corner of one of the pits Psalms mentions…or lift my eyes up to the hills. Help is supposed to come from that general direction.