Wednesday, November 7, 2012

the stuff of which life is made

I know I must be getting better and better because the urge to run has turned into an alarm that I just can't turn off. Deep down, I know its a true joy and luxury to complain about a lack of running and to ache to move faster. For the record, I am happy to be at this new stage. (now let's continue, what was I saying about discontentment?...)

When I get my "Running Time's" magazine in the mail, I have to immediately hide its mocking cover away until I can read it "some day in the future."
When I see runners relishing in the cool fall weather as they stride past me, it takes all I can muster not to say "quit bragging!"
When Neil innocently tells me about knocking out 7 miles on the treadmill - I swallow the mean response of "how fun for half  the people in this house" and force a smile to simply say "how fun"
(admittedly, this is not my best self)

Stupidly, I've chosen right now to finish the borrowed book "Running the Spiritual Path" by Roger Joslin, so i can return it to my friend Caitlin. Its a great book, and its not helping matters. On this perfect autumn running day, I will share a (rather long but beautiful) excerpt from the book. It expresses the love/hate/love relationship I have with running and it gives insight into why I miss it so much.

Joslin wrote this excerpt after completing a 22 mile run through the deserts of the Rio Grande...
[emphasis and spacing mine]

"When I returned from the trip to Big Bend and was asked about the run, I was uncertain how to reply. To those who wouldn't understand, I was likely to offer a flippant answer. I would say that the run was "great" or "hard" or "beautiful." These replies were, at least on a superficial level, perfectly true.

The twenty-two mile run down the Old Ore Road in Big Bend was like life itself. The same can be said for almost every run I take. Every run contains elements of the "stuff of which life is made." All the worries, fears, distractions, hopes, regrets, pain, and joy that fill life are often played out over the course an hour-long run.

Running in Big Bend, a place where God's spirit abounds, the examples of God's handiwork are evident as both challenging obstacles and lofty displays of inspiration. I felt as if years of experience in dwelling in the Divine Presence were compressed into only a few hours.

At times it was easy, exhilarating, joyous, and awe inspiring. Then I would emerge from a dry creek bed to find that the trail had become dangerous, worrisome, difficult, painful, and exhausting...

I tend to saddle each run with the complexities of my personal experience. And over the course of the run, these complexities are reduced to the simple matter of moving and breathing in God's presence."


  1. Oh Emma you've come so far in the last few months. It won't be long now. Soon you'll be lacing up your running shoes and you'll just take off. And when you do, your hubby and your buddy Dixon will be right along side you!

    1. that's such a beautiful image! I can't wait!

  2. Love that you love to run.. feels like freedom and accomplishment meshed into one.. life too.

    You are loved!
    Aunt Stacy

    1. "freedom and accomplishment" are two absolutely perfect words to use here. I couldn't agree more!