I did a five-mile run through town this week. My hubby Bill and two friends accompanied me. This may not sound remarkable but, trust me, it was. It was the first time I actually ran (as opposed to working out on the elliptical trainer) in a month and the first time I ran pain-free since last July.
I don’t want to say this too loudly for fear that I will jinx it, but the stretches and exercises given to me by an amazing orthopedist seem to be working. The injury that plagued me for over a year and a half appears to finally be on the mend.
When only Bill and I run together we can be rather quiet. We tend to save up our conversations for times when we are still, like at the breakfast table or while riding in the car. The guys we ran with are talkers, though. They have a hundred running stories, all of them hilarious, and a hundred more jokes. It felt as though we were laughing for the entire run.
I wasn’t ready to turn around and head back to our starting point, but rational thinking prevailed and we limited our run to five miles. In my warped view, if five miles are good, 10 miles would be even better. Too much of a good thing doesn’t exist. Of course, that philosophy could have contributed to my injury in the first place.
The run reminded me of the reasons I first began running many years ago when my children were little. I can recall coming home from a run, often the only 30 minutes of alone-time I had all day, and the feelings of strength and accomplishment those early runs engendered.
Running helped me to grow up, to become a better person. It helped to still the jitters inside of me and calm my high-strung nature.
It wasn’t always easy getting out for a run in those days, I was busy with three little boys and a full-time teaching job that always seemed to spill over into the evenings and weekends.
Running was (and is) a priority, though, so I carved time for it out of my hectic schedule and guarded those precious 30 minutes like they were gold. That is one of the ways running helped me to grow up – I made it happen rather than making excuses.
There are always reasons for not doing what our hearts tell us to do. We are busy, we are tired, we fear failure, we fear success, we are resistant to change, we wait for the perfect moment, which never comes along. All of those reasons can be true, but none of them are valid.
There is only one reason to follow our hearts – ourselves. I owe it to me to be the best version of myself I can possibly be.
I had an acronym that I used when I taught high school – MSH, which stands for Make Stuff Happen. (I may have cleaned up that saying a little bit for use with teenagers.) Yes, you are responsible for your own life, you are responsible for living up to your own expectations. Of course, when I used that abbreviation in school, it was followed by “I’m going to help you.”
In order to MSH, we need to surround ourselves with good people, people who believe in us and will help us get where we need to be. In my life, the person who does that best is my hubby.
I am usually a big picture person. Bill is the nuts and bolts guy who helps me figure out how to make my crazy ideas come to fruition. By now, when the words “I have an idea” come out of my mouth, Bill knows he better take a deep breath and steel himself for whatever is going to come next. Of course, I reciprocate. I want him to follow his dreams too.
If you want to MSH you also have to pay attention, to be present in the moment, not scrolling your Facebook feed or playing Candy Crush. I have had some wonderful experiences because I took the chance and just showed up.
Last year a friend invited Bill and me to run a trail half marathon with her. It was at a time when my injury was kind of iffy; I wasn’t sure whether I could run 13.1 trail miles without pain. I hadn’t seen the friend in a while, though and really wanted to spend time with her. The race turned out to be one of my favorites. It was a beautiful spring day, the trail was perfect, my hamstring behaved, and, best of all, I got to spend the day outdoors with Bill and my friend. Just because I showed up.
To MSH you must have the self-confidence to be able to fail and the humility to know you can’t do it alone. Oh, when you take chances you will fail; that is assured. I always used to share that with my students when they were doing their original lab projects.
The important thing is what happens after you fail. Some of the most valuable lessons occur after we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and wonder where we went wrong. That’s often when the “Aha!” moment occurs.
Humility helps us to fail gracefully, honestly. It reminds us that all light is reflected Light and that no person is an island. Humility is what allows us to be grateful for our failures because not only do they teach us important lessons, they tend to sweep away our accumulated hubris.
We are made to live boldly, unafraid, not cowering in the corner, scared to move in any direction and making excuses. Just as it says in 2 Timothy: “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” Where can that spirit of power, love, and self-discipline take you? What can you do to MSH today?
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