treadmill epiphanies [why I run]

I said yesterday I felt dried up.




Last night, I went for a run. I considered running outside, but Ghena took one look at me and said “what? so our lungs can freeze before we even get to the park?!” So I resigned to the dear sweet treadmill in the basement. I was cold in my shorts and zip up sweatshirt–the one that Kelsie gave me at Thanksgiving so long ago.  I hadn’t run in a couple weeks. I would attribute the difficult evening to my lack of running. I would attribute my despondency and confusion to the lack of endorphines coursing through me as my feet pound against pavement (or revolving rubber-ish track). So, despite it being 10 o’clock when I tugged that lame Jesus-love shirt over my head, I was going for a run. And then: perhaps the worst discovery.

No shoes.

They’re in the car.

Trapped. By 8 inches of snow.

Well, I’ve never done 3 miles barefoot. But it couldn’t hurt, right? I usually do a mile and a half after running a mile and a half of sprints. So I slipped into mismatched socks, unplugged my heater and plugged in the treadmill. The basement is especially chilly the last few nights. But a lap or two and I had the sweatshirt draping over the monitor. I had designed a play list on my iPod. It contained the usual. Frightened Rabbit, David Crowder,  two Bebo songs, Jars of Clay, the odd Justin Timberlake*, Rocket Summer, OAR, Mute Math and of course, Elias by Dispatch**. I had just skimmed my collection and selected high energy songs with hard, pounding rhythms. I had them in no particular order. It was 10 o’clock. I was running in my socks. I was supposed to chat with Keeleh at 11. I didn’t have time to mess with an arrangement.

Why not let the Spirit handle that? Seems to work out well enough.

It did.

I think I was at 2 miles. Mind you, I haven’t run in near two weeks. I am staving off the end of a cold. I had a headache all day. I was bizarrely discouraged (and yet so much good had happened!). One could chalk it up to the stress. Or the abrasion on the soles of my feet with each landing on the treadmill’s rough track. Or the late hour. Or hormones. *** Or a simply unexpected collision of musical notes that strummed on a heartchord and  loosened something in the back of my cerebra. But the two  miles wasn’t bad (I even felt fine after 3. woohoo!) My nose wasn’t running and I could breathe clearly. My headache had been pushed back down to my shoulders and they weren’t even fighting a build up of lactic acid. And I can never feel discouraged while running–it’s euphoric. I wasn’t stressed while I ran last night, I wore it out with measured stride. And my feet didn’t hurt until I climbed the stairs for one last drink of water at bedtime–hours later. 10pm can hardly be considered late. Hormones are a terrible excuse that women too often abuse. So I think that none of those reasons stand under scrutiny to explain what happened at 2 miles. I think one may only foolishly use the explanation of the music. And while it would be wrong to say that was the only basis for what happened, it would not be wrong to say that music opened my eyes.

oh he is here
for redemption from the fall
that we may live….

Oh, The glory of it all is
you came here
for the rescue of us all
that we may live
for the glory of it all

we will never be the same.

[david crowder]

I cried. I told Ingrid on Sunday that I’m a weeper. It’s the truest thing ever said about me. Last night I gave her 6 reasons I was on the verge of tears all Sunday morning at Brad’s.**** I am a weeper. I cried on that frickinng treadmill. Running a ten and a half minute mile, it was hard to breath amid the tears. I had my hands up. I had my eyes closed. I couldn’t run straight. Do you understand? He is here. He came. He came. He entered my mess. My world. My junk. Yours. Ours. This disaster of a planet gone wrong before it had hardly begun. He came to glorify himself. To save. To redeem. To rescue. And we will never be the same. I don’t have to be that girl anymore. I don’t have to be the same. I can live. I can be a Christian Hedonist and delight in Him.

I cried through the end of that song. I so often want to sit on the corner of Christian gatherings and in a morbidly prideful way judge myself and others. I can’t be saved to joy like you can, because you don’t know the sin in my heart. You don’t the cravings of my soul that depart from Abba’s design. It’s a backwards form of pride, I think. And it isn’t true. Jesus came to show us love. He came to show me love. He wraps me up in his arms even when I’m beating my little fists against his chest screaming that I can do this on my own. He runs ahead of me and teases me like a sweet friend or haunting lover: come, catch up! He stands on the cliff, staring down into the deep and beckons me to the edge: look at the vastness of the world I have made for us to enjoy! Look at the beauty of this place, even in its warped and dying condition. He laughs at me, shakes his head in amused bewilderment when I stick out my tongue and pout like the petulant brat I have often chosen to impersonate. He sees my depravity, he sees me naked on the street, throwing away favours, paying my gods to come to me. I can feel his wrath, his anger and jealousy as I prostitute against him in my soul. But even in his wrath, he is sweet and longing. He will spread his cloak over me, for “you are a redeemer.” He will wash me and clothe me. He will impart his righteousness. For that is what he came to do: rescue me, from my sin, from myself. And I will never be the same.

And then came Frightened Rabbit. And I could have laughed.

And if I hadn’t come down
To the coast to disappear
I may have died in a land-slide
Of the rocks, the hopes and fears…….

Up to my knees now, do I wait? Do I dive?
The sea has seen my like before though it’s my first
And perhaps last time.
Let’s call me a baptist, call this the drowning of the past
She’s there on the shoreline
Throwing stones at my back

So swim, until you can’t see land.
Swim, until you can’t see land.

[frightened rabbit]

Okay, I thought. I get it. If I hadn’t quit the bank I would not be in this place. I would not be on this shore, in limbo, like my own version of purgatory (sans-work-based-salvation). I would not be running on this treadmill at 10 o’clock. I would not be talking with Kyle so much, listening to sermons, washing floors, folding laundry and homeschooling children. And I told Kyle that Pakistan is a gamble. My whole life is a gamble. But he said it’s a gamble worth playing. Laying down my cards, I thought as  one foot fell fast in front of the other. All in, pushing my chips to the center and nodding at the man across the table. You! Man with your beard and tight wound curly hair. Sitting in your robe, that brown and worn out cloth. You! Man with your olive skin and dancing eyes and firmly set but laughing mouth. If you trump me, well, it’s my last time. But I’ll be baptized in tears and forsake the world casting stones to force me onward. I will swim until I can’t see land. I will swim into all that I fear: the water crashing over my head, the waves twisting so I know not which way is up, the bubbles of air escaping my mouth amid the blue and green and slate grey turmoil, the sky a vast and frightening thing, the shore a thin line that will never again be reached. I will throw my security aside. And I’ll take a gamble on you.

Cause I think you took a gamble on me.


*Justin Timberlake popped up after Bebo. It was an abrupt change. Jesus music and then…well, at least it’s not one of the explicit songs. This one was a gift. I swear. I would not spend money on this man’s music.

**Every playlist must have Elias. We have a history, that song and I. [and Dispatch is getting back together! Would have hugged Brad if he had been standing nearby when I got that text!]

***I pretend to blame hormones. I actually hate that excuse. Put on your big girl pants. And learn to be in control of your body.

****Oh Brad Corrigan. I will have to  blog about that morning. That house has some serious Holy Spirit juju going on.


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