I am on day 11 of my running streak. Runnersworld challenged their readers to go on a running streak, running a minimum of 1 mile/day, every day between memorial day and the 4th of July. Yesterday I ran my furthest so far in the streak at 5 miles. It was great. I haven’t ran that far since Norm’s run back early in December. Since then, I’ve been getting in miles but it’s all been low mileage. Running on the treadmill and then trying to fit runs in between a million different things… sometimes it is difficult to make yourself go long.
But what great joy it is when you do go long! “Long” of course is relative, but when you’ve been running at or below 3 miles, 5 fits. I had forgotten the release and the peace I feel when out on a long one. A run where I’m not tracking time or even thinking about time. I’m not thinking about what I need to do and why I need to hurry and get back home. A run where my mind is free to run wild along with the rest of my body. My mind is always going, so it’s great to give it a place where it can go unrestricted.
I can’t help but hear Norm when I’m out running. It doesn’t matter the distance or who I’m with. I hear his voice in my head the most during those times. Over the years, we spent lots of time running together and he was always the first person I shared a running goal or accomplishment with. He is the one I know would most understand my excitement about those types of things and my desire to get out there.
I’ve not written a lot in the past six months, and the more I thought about it last night, the more I realized the variety of reasons. Yes, I’ve been busy. But who isn’t? Generally I write so much about things that I’m processing or currently thinking on and I’m doing that all of the time, so I should always have much to write about. And I’ve had a lot going on. I’ve had spiritual disappointments and growth. I’ve had renewed passions and dreams. I’ve had multiple relationship challenges and growth. I’ve become a semi-vegetarian and found a new (and fun) challenge of cooking. In my internship I’ve dealt with insecurity and then a new found confidence. There is so much more, under and within the layers. But I realized that for the past six months, though I’ve processed that and more, it’s all been in the background. It’s all been a little cloudy, there and recognizable, but not as touchable or reachable as is usual for me.
When something so unexpected and major happens, I believe it’s really mentally difficult for someone to see anything else totally clear. In addition to that, nothing else seems like it is that big of a deal. Our priorities are put into perspective and we realize that much of what we concern ourselves with doesn’t really matter. Some of it does, but our daily struggles become very small when compared to something so huge.
We all know that death is a part of life… and if you have Christian beliefs, that death is a part of the fall of mankind. That we have renewed life in Christ and that we will rise again with Him. So, spiritually and theologically, it doesn’t seem like death should leave such an imprint on our lives… but it does. Because even though we know the outcome, we are left behind in the mean time. In the blink of an eye, our entire lives change and they change forever. There is nothing we can do to change it back. We know in those first few horrible weeks, that we will be happy again and that our life will give us a new normal in time, but it’s never the same as it was. And I don’t know about you in your experience of loss, but I’d say generally we don’t want the new normal. We don’t want that to happen because that means our lives have kept going… something I think everyone struggles with after the death of a loved one. So we mourn the loss of not only a person, but a life with that person and a life that was in part shaped by that person. We all shape one another’s lives in someway. At the time of someones death, our memories with that person become set. We won’t have more holiday stories to remember, more runs or races to plan to attend, more ongoing jokes, etc. All of those things come to a halt, and we have what we’ve accumulated so far with that individual. We have that go to on with, and somehow have to find a way to make some sort of peace with that.
I can hear someone telling me now that we are never without our loved ones after they are gone. And I believe that. Our lives do go on, whether we want them to or not, but we carry with us pieces of that person. But it doesn’t take everything else away; it doesn’t fix everything. That’s just part of it. It’s just part of the process, part of the life cycle, part of our journey. We’ll go through this multiple times in our lives… and I don’t think it gets easier, but we become more aware of what it entails… of what to expect.
I think it’s beautiful how God can bring clarity and how God can work through things with us. I think it’s wondrous that He knows all whats going on within our hearts when we may not understand.
Romans 26b-27 “…for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deepfor words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
All of this from a 5 mile run? Yes, that and from insight from Him above. Beautiful clarity, peace, release, thoughtfulness, joy and gratefulness. All the more reason to keep on running!