Tuesday, June 14, 2016
We Interrupt Regularly Scheduled Posting for the Burden On My Heart
This will be a very different post than the one I started writing this morning. I woke up disappointed. I slept through my 5 a.m. alarm, and my 5:15 alarm. I dozed or stared at my phone right on through the 6:15 and 6:30 alarms, mentally berating myself when I couldn't get out of bed. I finally did. I wished my husband good luck as he left the house for his workout and tottered around in my pajamas before it was time for my son to wake.
I sat down at my computer, my mind buzzing with negativity and disappointment. In the world. In politics. Violence, hatred, everything. Wondering how our priorities as a country can be so different and knowing there's no easy answer. Ever. Even when it seems like it should be straightforward, it is not.
When David got back from his workout, I reluctantly put on my own gear, laced up my shoes, looked out the door at a morning much more advanced than what I'd planned. Not looking forward to the humidity, or the sun that might fry me on the move, I willed my feet out onto the porch, the paving stones, the street. I put in my earbuds, went into my podcast app, and today's Running on Om podcast was titled "Mario Fraioli on Staying the Course in Running and Writing." Fitting. I had no idea who Mario Fraioli was, but staying the course resonated.
I was convinced that I would not run. "I cannot possibly do this today. It's hot, the air is soupy, it's so much later than I wanted to do this." So many excuses. So many reasons not to do it.
The weight in my chest, the very real burden on my heart, was in not knowing how to navigate...anything. I can get angry about ugliness in the media and politics, I can log into Facebook and fight with the people in my life, I can post snarky commentary or vent. For what exactly? Who am I winning over to my way of thinking in those situations?
After 15 minutes of walking and listening and thinking and walking and listening and thinking, I had to ask myself some fundamental questions. I backtracked from where I was in that moment to the basics of where I want to be. I have lived my life by one rule: Be useful, be kind, and help. It's not a statement. It's a command. Christians talk about burdens on their hearts, and I feel it the most in moments like this...of change, demand, or confusion. It's not my job to convince people to my way of thinking. It's my job to live a positive life. Plant a seed.
I've told my son and plenty of other people in my life, if they ask for my input or advice or are struggling the way I've struggled lately, "You may have to try harder than you've ever tried."
As I was still walking and listening and thinking. Lather, rinse, repeat. I was disappointed in the approach I've taken to speaking my own truth at times lately. It's so easy to let the angry, frustrated parts of ourselves take over. I knew I would be disappointed if I didn't try running. I would be giving in to these dark, sad, angry bits.
Was it about running? No. It was about trying. Trying harder than I have tried any other day. I ran and I cried and I wrestled with this burden and how how how how how to do these things. I didn't have trouble breathing (except when I cried), I didn't have any specific, unendurable pain...just the burn of intention. The demands of moving, extending the effort, staying the course.
I left some of the heartache out on the road today. I came home satisfied with my effort but knowing that there's more to do, and at times it will be harder to be kind than it is to be angry. I will try harder than I have ever tried to give grace and love, lend my voice, hands, and gifts to the things that benefit others. I will be an ally and a helper. Stay the course.