It’s been quite a while since I got out for a run and boy have I missed it! For the past few months I have not even wanted to run, chalk that up to depression or circumstances or a combo of the two. I got out for a run a couple days ago and again today.
For me, running has become a spiritual exercise. I added a prayer to my runs sometime last year and it goes something like this: God, I offer this run to you for joy. I pray it gives you joy and that it gives me joy. I give it to you.
I started both of these recent runs with that prayer and they were both joyfully painful runs. I’m really out of shape! They were good spiritual moments though. Something came to mind while I ran and repeated often: we are all a mix of pain and joy, happiness and fear, weariness and optimism; a mix of endless contrast all at the same time. We tend to compartmentalize these feelings for easier digestion but I think they are all there all the time. God must naturally be all of these things all the time as well.
The past few months have been tough at home. Kathryn has beautifully adjusted to being paraplegic. (That’s not to say she is Pollyanna about it. It’s a horrible development but one she has adjusted to in surprising ways). I’m not sure I have made similar progress. I’ve felt more of the negatives than the positives this year, or I should say I have been aware of the negatives more than the positives. These past couple runs, however, seem to have peeled away a layer of sludge and made me more aware of those constant contrasts. Sure, there are still plenty of negatives right now but maybe there’s more of a balance.
Kathryn has been in the hospital since Monday. She’s losing blood via her open wound on her spine and maybe other places internally as well. It’s been a challenge to keep her hemoglobin up and she’s low on platelets too, both contribute to the bleeding problem. It’s stressful and scary and adds another layer of uncertainty to the future. However stressful, Kathryn’s hospital stay has given me a brief respite from caregiving and that gives me a little more license to go for a run. See? Contrast.
When Kathryn comes home, I’ll be more rested and more aware of the contrasts in each moment. I pray that makes me a better caregiver, father, and husband; a more balanced one anyway that can give Kathryn what she needs and deserves.
I encourage you to find something that can peel away that layer of crap du jour and I bet you’ll find something worth finding that can give some balance to the negatives we all face.