today: rainy run musing

Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

-Mary Oliver

Saturday morning and hours before the alarm wakes me flashes of white and rumblings of sky. Months of drought mean that I wake fully at 4 am before recognizing this: it rains. Return to sleep then the alarm rings at 7; there are photos to create. But with the rain, the sky greyed. A text to client to reschedule, but in the early I am wide awake.

Breakfast with coffee and prayers. I lace up my runners then I drag the dog on a drizzly walk. All summer long we survive our morning routine: I sweat; she pants. The rain, so wanted and so needed, she hates it. We return home. The dog runs crazy through the apartment then slumbers beside my desk. I grab a water bottle, blast Pandora through my i-Phone as I strap it to my arm and head out the door.

It drizzles still, and it is August, and in a summer that we’ve had many days over a hundred and severe drought, 75 degrees feels like grace massaging weariness out of my bones. I run hard, muddying shoes and drenching shirt- with rain and sweat cooling skin. I’m smiling, and it’s been months since a run produced a smile during my efforts. I double the length of typical pre-photo session Saturday run, and I feel I am in the presence of God alone.

My mind wanders to the words the writer of Hebrews penned in the New Testament: she urges that we seek level paths for our feet so that what is lame might not be put out of joint. I ponder those words. I have been busy and short-tempered, and my dad has been sick, and I have lacked patience, perspective, grace. I am broken. And yet mornings like this are healing: I rediscover a level path for my feet, literally, yes but in the work of my run and the cool of the air, my heart craves the God whose kindness leads to repentance.

A long few weeks, and I consider something Hebrews alludes to. Healing is often participatory. “Use it or lose it,” my boyfriend tells people when urging them towards a healthier lifestyle and better fitness. A lame foot unused will never regain strength. And sometimes there are moments of big dramatic miracles and wholeness comes instantaneously. Oftentimes, though, healing and the return to wholeness is a process. And that’s beautiful, because trust is required and that trust transforms not just what is broken but also the character of the one being healed.

This morning I return from my run, feeling muscles and reminded that they work. The rain slows by the time I finish, but the air remains cool. I settle into the rest of my day wide-eyed and hopeful, aware of a good God who ran with me this morning and awakened, once again, to faith. And to think I was just excited about the possibility of a long run in the rain…

God’s intention? To return me to patience, to perspective, to grace.

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