Everyone’s running outside today. After a brutal winter, it’s going to hit 50 degrees, and on a Saturday to boot, so the reluctant treadmill runners are making their way out among the diehard ice and snow crowd. It’s a beautiful day, a bright blue sky and light wispy clouds, not too windy, and perfect for running. But this morning, I hung back, afraid to head out.
My Winter run has largely taken place in an enclosed, indoor track at a local college. And even though I am repeatedly lapped by whippersnappers that could technically be my children, I have found it a comfortable place to be. Not only because there was no wind resistance (although I liked that…even a gentle wind sometimes snatches my breath away), or because it was totally flat, but because I had cheerleaders in there, and I didn’t want to run without them.
Call me crazy or delusional, but as I rounded each of those four tight corners with each lap, I could feel my mother and my good friend cheering me on. The thing is, they both art in Heaven but somehow they were also there with me on that track. I had come to rely on that, how they painted the words of the inspirational songs I was listening to on the walls to keep me going, how they danced just ahead of me or clapped and jumped up and down. They made me smile all Winter long with that stuff.
So, as I ventured out, I was unsure. I wanted so much to reach my goal of the day, but didn’t think it was possible. Surely, my breath would be gone with just the transition to the outside alone, not to mention the lack of my Heavenly cheerleaders. But, as I might have guessed, they made their way outside to hang with me.
Early on, over my head flew two bright white seagulls, and they flew toward my first milestone, leading me on, and making me smile. My attention was directed toward a cross hanging from the rearview mirror of a parked car. As I was running out of gas, an adorable older couple walked toward me. The gentleman said, “At least the Sun is out!”, and I said, “Thank God!”. They smiled and passed, and I felt strongly that reminder of the Sun as Son, of the fact that I am not ever alone, of my dear ones running just ahead of me and helping me along.
And thanks be to God, and these two dear souls, I reached my goal.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1