Recently, Jesse mentioned something he was reading that described a character receiving the gift of an invisibility cloak. When you put it on, you became invisible.
My husband laughed, “Oh, Felic, that’s what you need for running!”
Because, you see, I want to be a runner but I’m embarrassed to start. I’m afraid I’ll step out my door that first morning and the real runners in the world will magically wake up from athletic slumbers yelling, “Who is the imposter?! Who dares to attempt the sacred sport without million dollar shoes and secret-club preparations!!”
I want to be a runner before I start running. You know, sort of like wanting to be in shape before I hit the gym.
Or like wanting to be disciplined, wise, or spiritual without practicing it in my life. Everyday. In the little decisions that matter, like smiling when I feel like throwing something or being kind when I want to be impatient. Sort of like that.
It didn’t help when last week I was walking home with the kids from church and Macy (my four year-old mini-me) challenged me to a race on the last block. So I started to run. And then I could hear one of the older kids – although I couldn’t pinpoint the voice in order to assign appropriate blame for the physiological damage inflicted – say casually, “Huh, I’ve never seen Mom run before.”
WHAT?! Never seen me run? Even my children are against this pursuit.
Something helped yesterday, however. Claire had an appointment with her surgeon/specialist in St.Louis; just a check-up, but always a time for thinking about the important things in life. These drives are good for contemplation.
I don’t think I was thinking, “What am I going to do about this running thing?” but the answer came anyway. There along a frontage road was an Amish guy jogging.
Full dress: dark pants, suspenders, button-up shirt, and work boots. Beard. A little heavy around the middle. Jogging.
At first I checked to make sure no one was chasing him. Then to make sure he wasn’t running toward someone who needed help. No, I think he was just jogging. In my imagination he had been ill recently and his doctor had politely suggested that he work on dropping a few pounds and he, all business and practicality, slipped out of his barn the next afternoon to get a little exercise.
And I was there to see it.
What inspired me was the sight of someone becoming a runner, not the sight of a runner running. I thought about how proud his wife must be that he cared to live a little longer. I thought about how prideful I am for not wanting to be seen working on it myself. I smiled for the next several miles. I loved it.
So, as you can see, I’ve managed to make this a post about spirituality instead of physicality, but I think you get my point. No one minds watching you struggle through this life trying to become the person you know you should be. Stop apologizing and just keep at it. You’ll get better. It will get easier. You might even learn to enjoy it.
(But, seriously, any tips for beginning runners are welcome! Am I the only person plagued by this fear? Also, if you happen to see me actually being brave enough to get started on this jogging business, do me a favor. Pretend I’m wearing an invisibility cloak!)