I’ve learned so much from running: about my body, about my spirit, and about my soul. One of those soul-lessons came this morning. It was really muggy when I took the dog out last night for the last time. I knew I needed to get up and run this morning, and I was not looking forward to it. It has been an amazingly mild summer and I should be grateful for all of the unusually cool mornings I have had, but I felt kind of grumbly.
It was a little cooler than I expected when I got outside around 5:15, but it was humid. The air felt heavy. Fridays I run as fast as I can without stopping for 30 minutes. I started rather slowly, trying to let my music set the pace. My neighborhood is made up of courts–four to six buildings with six town homes each surround a central island on most streets. My favorite court for running is fairly flat and filled with mature trees. The trees shade the street and keep it cooler. I can tell from my GPS watch that although this street is fairly flat, it is not completely so. One side of the circle is higher than the other. I always begin with the little climb. I have always liked to get the worst over with.
On dark mornings when I’m running early, I like to kind of “camp” on this street. I usually run around it for at least eight laps. It’s out-of-the-way and there is only one car that starts up and leaves during my run. Also, there is usually a police car parked in front of one of the houses. This makes me feel secure somehow.
Though I like the street, I definitely prefer the downhill side. On Wednesdays when I do intervals, I always hope I’m on the downhill side when the time comes to sprint. This morning I was running as usual, enjoying the downhill and dreading the uphill, but on the second time around I noticed that there was a strong breeze on the uphill side of the circle that did not penetrate the downhill side. As I continued to run, the wind continued to blow and I found myself looking forward to the uphills. As I considered this odd little weather anomaly, the Lord seemed to whisper to my heart.
In scripture the Holy Spirit is often associated with wind. I realized that it’s in the tough times of life, the uphill times, the broken-hearted times, that I tend to feel the Spirit blowing most strongly. As I ran around and around and that breeze refreshed me on each turn, I reflected on the fact that there’s a part of me that has learned not to avoid the rough patches. I’ve even begun to look forward to them a little because I know that there, on the uphill, the Spirit blows hard and refreshingly.
I continued my run through the rest of the neighborhood and headed for home. My street runs downhill into a fence with a tree-covered hill rising on the other side. I could hear those trees blowing wildly in the wind as neared home. I made the turn into my street and the breeze hit me in the face. As I stretched my muscles on the front steps, the wind continued, surrounding me with refreshment. I stood there for a while with my arms out and my eyes closed, letting the wind dry me and memorizing the feeling of my hair blowing back from my wet face. I thought then, “This is how it will be someday.” Someday I will finish my run and go Home. Someday, the Spirit will surround me forever. Someday the breeze of refreshment will be my new and eternal normal. I’m looking forward to that!