Running became a strangely spiritual experience for me during one of my running workouts.
At 170 pounds, I'm not overweight for my height range, but I'm certainly not thin, and probably still a bit above average weight. For the past two months, I've been eating quite healthily, and for the past about-a-month, I've been running. I thought I was doing this as a favor to myself--you know, getting fit and helping out my heart health. The other day, however, my running workout became more than just getting into shape. It became a completely unexpected way in which I connected with God like I had never done before.
Currently, I'm on a couch-to-5k workout schedule. A month ago, running for even a minute-and-a-half winded me, and I would barely finish my workout, panting and swallowing bucketloads of water and wanting to collapse off the treadmill. Up until recently, I'd never so much as run 10% of a mile without stopping in the middle of the workout to catch my breath and try to convince myself not to faint or puke or something. During one of my most recent workouts, however, I'd run a solid 9 minutes, which was technically all I was supposed to run for that day. It was more than I'd ever run before, and when I slowed down the speed on my treadmill to a steady, brisk walking pace, I gasped for breath and chugged down half a water bottle.
I had been grieving all day for several loved ones who have chosen to walk a path full of heartache and dangerous decisions. As I dragged my feet on the treadmill, my mind went back to these darlings of mine. The familiar emotions I associated with those friends came swirling back to me--agony for their sake, helplessness for mine, and anger over the fact that God is not doing more to protect them. And when I say "anger" toward God, I'm talking about a deep-seated soul rage, the kind that destroys all happiness if I let myself think about it for more than a minute, the kind I've been steadily overcoming the past few months but still sink back into from time to time.
I reached for my phone to play a favorite song of mine, but by completely accident, I clicked on one of the songs that YouTube was recommending for me--"Start Over," by Flame. I was about to change to the song I'd originally been searching for when the lyrics began.