Monday, September 23, 2013

For Granted

A week ago, I successfully completed a half marathon, which is a fun yet challenging distance to run. It is a walk in the park to marathon runners, but seemingly unattainable to non-runners. It takes several months of planning and devoted training, and a little bit of insanity, to run for two hours straight. This particular year's race was special to me.  I have completed three half marathons before this one, but the last one took place in 2006, before my body added "childbirth" to its repertoire. After having two babies, I wasn't sure I would ever run in a competitive way again. God made it possible for me to have the time to train and gave me, once again, the physical ability to run. And it was so. much. fun.

All runners have a different attitude about running after finishing a race they've been training for. Some are signing up for the next one 10 minutes after they cross the finish line. Some swear they'll never put on running shoes again. (I've done both, by the way.) This week, I was excited to get back out and go for a 3-4 mile run.  And my first post-race run was wonderful: a beautifully crisp morning, plenty of energy, strong legs, clear thoughts.  As I was talking to God on my run (as I typically do, since he's my only "running buddy" these days), he was reminding me what a blessing it was to be able to run.  And my mind was flooded with all the individuals I know personally and from a distance who are not physically able to run. I was reminded of several times in my life when I've needed to take a break from running. I was reminded of those who do not have the privileges in life that allow for free time and free space to run.  And those thoughts make any aches or soreness seem completely arbitrary, complaints completely immature.

I think about this often in my duties of being a mom--the way in which I am privileged to even be one. I'm always surprised at how wrapped up I can get in the the little "aches and soreness" of motherhood. In days spent in parenthood, there always seem to be some sore joints, and muscles that tighten too quickly, and impatience to reach the next mile marker, and feelings of weariness.  But there are people out there whose hearts yearn for those pains.  They would gladly take on the pain if it would mean that they would be able to partake in the activity. I am blessed to have the pains I do.

My community grieves today for a boy who died in a fatal bicycle accident on the way to school this morning.  There is a mom tonight who wishes she had the simple aches of arguments and laundry to deal with.  But she is left with a much bigger ache.  May I never take for granted the gift that has been given me of each new day with my boys (and the aches that accompany it).

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up, the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:2-3

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