Somehow, as each mile wore on and I stopped focusing on my own problems and instead began to pray for people that I didn’t even know, my worries seemed to lift and my anger at my own situation began to dissipate. As I remembered each child, parent and teacher in that tragedy, the gravity of my own situation seemed to dim in comparison to what the family of the victims were dealing with. With each prayer came gratitude for being able to run, hug my children, smile, teach my students, and even live in a house with a leaky roof that was costing me money I didn’t have. Yes, it is possible to be thankful for a leaky roof.
As I ran each mile, my thankfulness increased. They weren’t the best miles, but they were GOOD miles. Necessary miles. Thoughtful miles. Angry miles. Repentant miles. Grateful miles. Pretty much in that order. Running through the dark streets of my neighborhood instead of the trail I had originally planned on running earlier that day, I saw the houses lit up with Christmas lights and Christmas trees shining through the windows with brightly colored ornaments and it made me grateful to be able to run even if it was at night. Lately I have had to do a lot more night running which has never been one of my favorite things to do, especially in the winter and doing so has moved me out of my comfort zone. Being out there on the streets with just my headlamp and a couple of streetlights made me grateful that I was even able to run at all. I made peace with a lot of things last night, including running at night and in the cold. Sometimes we need to be moved out of our own comfort zone where everything feels safe and comfortable as this propels us towards new horizons that we may never have known otherwise. On those horizons we often encounter parts of ourselves that we may never even knew existed. Running will do that to you if you stick with it long enough.
Peace my running friends. Tomorrow is a brand new day, one in which you get to choose how you live it. I pray you too seek out new horizons as you move beyond your comfort zone and find the peace you seek.