Two days ago, while I wondered if the entire community could hear my painful, rhythmic breathing and if I would ever not sound like a dying rhinoceros when I run, my neighbor passed in her car and said, "Looking good, girl". I said, "I HATE RUNNING!"
This is true most of the time. I advertise the fact that I am not enjoying myself, because I am not, in fact, enjoying myself. But I've discovered that even when I don't like it, running is like a cleanse for me. I am not one for the green liquid stuff that you're supposed to drink for a week at the expense of all other food in order to purge your body of toxins, or whatever other nonsense people use as an excuse to lose weight and enjoy exploding diarrhea. If you want more toxin removal, get an additional liver implanted. Or run.
I know you all think I'm perfect. I have that effect on people - making them think I'm flawless and stuff. But sometimes I experience symptoms of being a normal person. I get depressed that I haven't seen my husband in over six months. I get bitter that the Navy is taking him away again three months after he will finally get home and I despair of ever feeling like our little family is where they should be (which is with me, rubbing my aching back and telling me how flawless I am). When I start to blame Henry for all my problems, it's probably time to go running. It works the poison out of my attitude and, in their mutual disapproval of me forcing them to waste their energy trotting through the neighborhood for the sole purpose of sweating, my brain and my emotions team up. If I'm angry, I can usually overcome it by introducing something that, at least for the duration of my run, I am angrier about: exercise. Works every time.
And you know, there's science stuff about endorphins and there's the fact that I'm so stinkin' proud of myself for being 'A Runner' that I slyly slip it into every other conversation I have with everyone I encounter.
The conversations that don't include running usually feature the fact that my husband is deployed and that's why my child is ransacking the books in Barnes and Noble. This is supposed to illicit pity, but I think they see right through me when my response to, "Can I help you, ma'am?" is, "My husband is deployed!"
Anyway. A run is like deployment. It's not fun and you go through cycles of, "I'm doing great! What a great runner/military wife I am!" and, "This sucks. This will never be over and if someone doesn't notice that I'm doing a good job and wearing my big girl panties, I'm going to eat Trader Joe's Tahitian Vanilla Caramels for breakfastlunchanddinner."
When I'm running, as with deployment, there are times when I don't think I'm going to have the endurance to not sit down and yell at passers by that everything is their fault, and so I pray, "please make me finish!" and God basically says, "You can do it" without saying anything, but every time I pray that, I know that my whines will get me nowhere because, I am, in fact, physically capable of finishing. I'm not really as strong or confident as I pretend to be, but I'm stubborn, which looks pretty similar.
Which brings me to my point. Sometimes I pray, "Please give me the strength to finish well" and He always does, but what I really want to pray is, "Please come babysit Nathan for me, so I can take a nap and then you can teach him all kinds of educational things because you're God and you know that stuff and maybe you can teach him to say, 'I appreciate you, Mommy. You're the best.'" But He never does that. My insight for the day is this: God doesn't endow us with so much strength that exercise or deployments are no sweat. He gives us just enough to finish. And that's good, because I'm so much more grateful for the gift, having experienced the struggle.
And also, He gives Trader Joe's Tahitian Vanilla Caramels. Because He saw Nathan climb onto the dresser yesterday and He knows I need them.