Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Praying and Running

The last couple of weeks have been a little tough….not “how am I going to feed the family” tough or anything like that.  It has just been one of those periods where things start to add up, and I become a grouchy person to be around.    You know…work stinks, the house looks like a dang construction area, some folks are driving me batty, it’s 97 degrees for weeks on end, and I’m trying to find time to get in a long run, etc… 

Remember this guy?

I’m grateful that my wife, Sonya, has been patient.  She has put in a couple of thoughts about my grouchiness, but that’s OK.  I needed that.  I certainly do the same for her.  That’s one of the ways we serve one another.

The telltale sign that I’m not coping well is cynicism.  What better way to revel in my misery than to deny the sincerity of your actions?  And if I can throw in a little subtle sarcasm, I can even pass it off as light humor, right?  HA, HA!  Some other signs include general jerkiness, brooding, and long, prolonged sighs (as opposed to cleansing breaths).  Where does it get me, really?  No where.

For some reason, I always seem to neglect the two things that help me most during these times – prayer and running.  My prayer life is liturgical in nature and includes reading the psalms.  I can easily fall into a quick read on the “Prayer Express” if I’m not careful.  The running can go the same way.  I’ll default to just getting in a quick run here and there, rather than going on a long run to clear my mind or trying to maintain the focus required of my hill repeat workouts. 

What I miss out on during the “Prayer Express” is a real conversation with God.  I jump past those important listening moments.  Why do these few words in particular get my attention?  What does this passage mean for my current situation?  How can I pray about the meaning of this?  I recently remembered some words of wisdom from a wonderful Franciscan Priest I met named Father Francis – “Don’t try to overdo it or get all fancy with what you do.  Find out what works for you, and try to do it first thing in the morning.  The point is to spend time with Jesus.  Spend ten minutes with Jesus every day, and that’s a good start.”  Good advice…

Many people have written about how running can be addictive.  If it was a drug, I would classify it as an antidepressant and an anti-anxiety medication with a hint of something to add a little focus.  It may seem strange and even kind of pathologic to say that I use running to cope sometimes, but I freely admit it.  It seems to smooth things out when I’m feeling anxious.  It gives me a jolt of energy when I’m feeling down, and in a world that seems to lack focus, it is one thing that really helps me bring focus back in my life.  If I have something on my mind, it’s a time to block out the many distractions in life and collect my thoughts.  Often, the results have also been some of the most moving prayer experiences I have had.  What better way to spend my ten minutes (and more) with Jesus?

By the way, Oscar was just misunderstood.  He really just loved trash...

If you can't see the video (click here)I

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