This morning...simply put...my heart was heavy. I can't give you details, but I can tell you most assuredly that I carried a broken heart into church with me and I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. The issues weighing me down are complicated and confusing and, even though the situation is a consequence of my own actions and choices, it doesn't make the pain less violent.
To add injury to insult, I had some pretty bad ankle pain yesterday and missed my long run. The first long run I've missed...ever. Added to the emotional distress I was under, my self-confidence was at about zero. I literally had an all-out temper tantrum this morning...and it wasn't pretty. If there were EVER a time that I NEEDED to take a run, it was this morning.
My husband, seeing that I was a hot mess, said, "Leah, you need to go run." But...my ankle! His response: "You live with an EMT. Put on your ankle brace, go out and bring your cell phone and call me to pick you up if your ankle is hurting."
Well, I couldn't, in good conscience, run on my ankle after the way it was feeling yesterday so I compromised and decided to do the same length of my long run, but walk it easily instead. And that's what I did.
If you've been doing this healthy lifestyle thing for awhile, you might know what I mean when I say that exercise isn't just good for your body and a way to keep your weight in check. It is also extremely cleansing for the soul.
Today, I ditched the iPod and went out solo with a water bottle, my cell phone and my mess of thoughts. I have to be honest...I'd forgotten how nice it is to just walk sometimes. One of the best parts of walking is that I can text while I do it. It sounds silly...but when I'm out on the trail, I get some pretty deep thoughts. I've said before that I write all my blogs in my head while I'm on a run and that is true (you think I didn't weave this entry together in my head over the past two hours?) I text my key thoughts to my "inner circle" to get their reactions and to make sure I've got a record for later. It helps me process. You know...a lot of texts make it into my blogs. Now you know my secret.
The first mile, I cried. I sobbed. I just let it all out. No one was around. No one saw. I could just release.
Then...the tears stopped. And I just walked for awhile.
Mile 2: I was ready to have a little talk with God about everything. Out there on that trail, I laid it all out for Him. This is how I feel about such and such, God. This is where I feel betrayed...here is where I made a bad choice and did my own thing anyway...and, by the way, I'm SO sorry about that, God! I know this particular action didn't make You happy, but it made me happy and that was more important than You and, geez, I brought this on myself. I just want to feel this...I just want to be this certain way...I want my life to be like this. Can you understand that, God? And on and on it went....complete and total baring of my soul. Raw and real.
TEXT #1: "You know what's beautiful about Jesus? He doesn't hold our shi*t in front of us and rub our nose in it. He just forgives it and lets go and says, 'Move along now. My love for you never changed. Let's keep going." I can't understand that kind of mercy, but it soothes a broken heart more than you can imagine.
Mile 3: After the deluge of MY thoughts and feelings...silence. Just listening. And looking around...and really seeing where I was.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Is that...is that...THE SHIRE?" haha. Yeah...it sure is.
But, seriously, as my body moved and I began to sweat and breathe deeper, I actually looked up and saw the sky and somewhere along the way, it hit me that my little problems are so small in the greater scheme of things. There is SO much more to my life than these issues I'm dealing with. And I realized, "My gosh, it's a BEAUTIFUL day today!"
TEXT #2: I'm stronger than all this emotional mess...I lean on a Power that's bigger than my own feeble heart. The darkest moments in my life come when I say, "no thanks" to that Power.
The remaining 2.5 miles were spent just thinking about all the good things that I have. And, would you believe I came home feeling healed and whole? The situation hasn't changed, friends. My outlook on my life has. And it all came about because I made a choice to go out and move my body.
Exercise isn't a "magic pill" but there certainly is some magic in it.
I suppose it's only fitting to end this one with one of the greatest quotes from The Lord of the Rings. I swear, this could have been my friend and I texting this morning. Replace Frodo with "Leah" and Sam with "Inner Circle Friend".
FRODO: I can't do this, Sam.
SAM: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
FRODO: What are we holding onto, Sam?
SAM: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.