One of the things I’ve begun to do to help me through this grieving process is running. Yes, I know some would call me crazy – but believe me, I needed it. Something that keeps me healthy, gives “me time” with worship music coming through my headphones while my children are well cared for, helps me feel better about myself, helps cut down on stress, and gives me goals in otherwise now pretty mundane days of caring for small children? Well, I’d call that a win ten times over.
I have regularly worked out at a gym for years, but never have been able to run due to asthma. And until now, I never really minded. But now? Well, I’m a little bit of a crazy determined woman who has needed to accomplish some things I could never do before. I decided to use my “couch to 5k” app to train myself for a 5k on Father’s Day, honoring Bryan’s legacy and beating my own personal odds.
I have to admit – the start of my training was awful. I had to get a pricy inhaler that I must use at the beginning of the run. I spent the majority of each run trying to catch my breath, gasping for air while mentally telling myself over and over that I could do this. It was quite humiliating to feel so out of shape when I had before considered myself to be pretty fit. I called a few friends who I knew had beaten asthma and are great runners today, hoping they would share their secrets with me. I found it was something they all just had to persevere through.
Then one day, I was reading on my Kindle to try to make the time on the treadmill go by faster and be distracted from how hard this was. I came across a passage reminding me that the Hebrew word for God, Yahweh, was written without vowels and pronounced with the sounds of taking a breath in and breathing it back out. Go ahead and try saying it to yourself right now.
This God who created the universe, who put the stars in the sky and who has held it in place through thousands of years, longs for us to breathe His name with every breath we take. The easy ones, when we laugh hysterically with joy at life’s wonderful moments. The sad ones, when we cry uncontrollably at the hardship we’ve been given to wade through. And, the difficult ones, when we gasp for air, praying it continues to come – praying we can just keep breathing.
A good friend told me that the Lord’s taught her more lessons while running than in Bible studies she’s done. I’m understanding it now. Even running can be worship. And worship, as Louie Giglio profoundly put it in a recent sermon, is giving God His breath back. After all, don’t all of our breaths come from Him anyway? He’s the only reason I wake up with breath in my lungs each day.
And so, I run – both on the literal treadmill, and through this “treadmill” called life. I give it my all, so that when it’s all said and done, I will have run the race and endured the faith. And that 5k? H and I ran it together, and it was so invigorating. We’re actually doing another one together tomorrow! I may never be the fastest runner, but I am determined to keep running… and to keep breathing.
In and out. In and out.
One breath at a time.