Thursday, July 10, 2014


What is healing?  For my running, that might mean being able to finally do the longer runs I’m used to.  Being able to head out the door and run for 3 hours or so without worrying if I might have to detour back home is a good measure of my physical healing. Yes, the miles don’t roll by as easily or as fast as they have in the past, but that will get easier.  Anyone in Texas who is trying to put in a long run in the middle of the day at this time of year is really just surviving the run, anyway.  Regardless, I am grateful to be able to do it. 

I work in a hospital, and you might think that I get to see people cured all the time.  Objectively, that’s not necessarily true.  Acute care hospitals are generally not a place where you are admitted with an illness and come out “cured.”  That does happen, but most of the time it’s only the start of the process.  I might get to spend a few days or maybe even weeks with patients, but they might be fighting their diseases for months, maybe even the rest of their lives.  I rarely get to see how everything turns out for these people. 

Even though I rarely get to see the outcomes for the people I am with in the hospital, I have seen a great amount of healing.  When does that happen?  It happens when a patient is calmed by someone sitting with them for a few moments and listening.  It happens when someone gets a hug from a coworker.  It happens when someone comes along and wakes you up by saying just what was needed.

Healing does happen with comfort in the early stages.  We have to have comfort to calm ourselves enough to process what is going on in our lives.  Later on, healing seems to be different.  A better description might be one of change or transformation.  At some point, maybe healing looks like someone with heart disease who is (almost) happy about eating broccoli.  Maybe it is someone who realizes they can turn away from addiction.  The most wonderful change I see is when someone realizes what a gift life is and decides to live each day with a renewed joy. 

I fully recognize that healing from a running injury pales in comparison to some of the suffering in the world.  In fact, I have had some guilt about the time I have spent whining about it.  However, what does my healing look like besides how far I can run now?  It’s a realization that I need to do other things besides going running to take care of my body.  It’s a new joy I have when I head out the door for a run.  It’s a new hunger to find out what happens wherever my feet take me.