Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Living the Dream
I didn't intend to be a runner.
And I'm not sure if an outsider would look at me and say, "yeah, she's a runner."
Many runners have that svelt look, where muscles are etched out beneath skin stretched tightly across, revealing the architecture of a beautifully chiseled body. That is not me. I may run regularly, but I don't eat the way that gets that look going. And I was tempted this swimsuit season to get a two piece. But after trying a few on I found that rarely do they cover vertical C-section scars. Mostly I run because it is prayer, it is joy, it is therapy, it is the thing that connects me in a positive way to the body I've always struggled with.
But it wasn't until yesterday that I understood the gift this running thing has become.
I started running about the time my husband and I started trying to have children. The road to motherhood has been hard. It did not happen for us the way we thought it would. It took years to finally get pregnant. Once we were able to have kids, the timing of it all put me in the A.M.A. club: advanced maternal age. I remember having a conversation with my husband about running when our children were very small. I remember saying that I wanted to be physically active enough to enjoy my children, to be able to keep up with them as they got older. I didn't want my age to keep me from living fully into their lives, sharing it the way I longed to do.
We had that conversation years ago. I had forgotten about it.
Yesterday I woke to a body that decided a walking workout on the treadmill might be better than a run. Because the whole day before I spent in the gym playing with my kids. With Noah, my oldest, I played basketball, trying like crazy to make baskets, trying to keep him from doing the same. My shot isn't as good as his, but I put up a pretty good defense. Isaiah wanted me to run with him. We ran around the gym's upstairs track. He is fast. But he's not used to running long distances. Eventually we were able to run side by side, my endurance keeping me close enough to him so that we could experience running--together. And my littlest boy, he just wants to kick a ball together. Which translates: I kick it to him; he kicks it in a different direction that sends me racing to stop it so it doesn't wind up in a teenager's pickup game.
Here's the thing: in all that activity, I was able to stay right with my boys.
Yesterday I realized that a years ago prayer had been answered.
The temptation is to take it all for granted.
When we send the prayers up, I have noticed that over time we tend to forget the prayers we pray. It is Heaven's mercy, because sometimes the answers take a while to come. Yet when the answer to a long held prayer comes, we can't help but feel joyful. As I was running this morning I kept pondering these glorious answers to my running prayers, remembering lyrics to the Disney song: "A dream is a wish your heart makes . . ." This dream has come true. It is a beautiful, sweet dream, that must be savored in the moment, that must be lived with robust attention and gratitude. Because these boys are fast, and who knows how long I will be able to keep up with them. Who knows how long they will even want me to.
The temptation is to put these fulfilled dreams on hold while I focus on working other dreams.
There are other things I believe I was made for. But I forget that the most important thing I was made for is the Grace of this present moment. Once the moment is gone, the Grace for it is gone too. I don't want to run past it chasing what will come next. I so want to receive this Grace now. In all of its dizzying fullness.