"Be so careful that you don't spend your life fighting for what you want." -Francis Chan, Is Suffering Optional
I've had some good running experiences lately. Thursday night I ran and it was so refreshing and needed. It was getting harder and harder to get out with the fierce cold winds blowing and to run for hours. So Thursday was not a long run, and it was about 65 degrees and I felt good. This training has had more bad runs than I've ever had before, which makes me thankful for the good ones. And while running I listened to the podcast I linked above, and it was strange how encouraged I was by it. Because his words were hard and scary, but true. I feel like I'm being taught about suffering, about the way it's spoken of in scripture and what I have to do with it. The first few times I heard things like theologies of suffering and the like, I felt like I was getting punched in the stomach. But I continue to hear it, and ask that I would be convinced as well of the promises that accompany the suffering.
So that was Thursday. Yesterday I had a 17 mile run scheduled, and I get so nervous before those runs. Anything over 13 sounds daunting. And I didn't drink enough water, and had friends over for a breakfast that left me feeling terribly sluggish (although it was good while it lasted:). So my first 5 or 6 miles were just awful. It felt so hot, since last Saturday it was about 60 degrees colder than yesterday. And the bottoms of my feet were numb, and I was so thirsty! Everyone I passed seemed to be carrying a large bottle of water.
I'm reading this book called What is the What, by Dave Eggers. It's about this guy from Sudan who became one of the walking boys when Sudanese villages were attacked by the murahaleen. He walked for months to Ethiopia and has seen an unfathomable amount of terror and tragedy. So I just read the part about their walking, about going through the dessert and not having water or food for days at a time, being so sick and still walking. And it's really troubled me, thinking about little children not having food and water and walking... I got upset the other night when I threw away 3/4 of an onion because I wasn't going to use it, but somewhere in the world it could sustain a life.
So while running, so thirsty and numb feet and already tired but knowing I had about 12 miles to go, I started thinking about the walking boys. And then i started thinking about the beattitudes, blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God, those who mourn for they will be comforted.... And somehow I brought this season of lent into it, too. And thought about how this training has been such a disciplined time for me, and how I have been asking God that He would allow me to run these miles, because there have been several longer runs where I feel incapable. So I started feeling like this time of running can teach me about reliance on God and reflecting on/praying for God's children who suffer daily and involuntarily.
So I was listening to this song that says "You are my joy" over and over again, and I was starting to feel better. My feet were un-numbing and there was wind at my back, and I was coming to the top of a hill that leads to a downgrade. And I look to my right, and there's a water fountain. Oh my goodness I was so happy! And I felt like it was so small, the actual event, but the significance was huge to me.
Later in that same run, about 3 miles from home, I was again crazy thirsty. I went into a UDF and noted no water fountains. So I went into the bathroom and when I washed my hands... I slurped water from the bathroom sink. Heheh. I was desperate.