This morning I dedicated my 3 mile run to my Creator. While I stretched and mentally prepared for the August heat, I prayed a prayer of gratitude. Hey, it’s Sunday. Something like:
“God of love, strength, hope, mercy, I thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. May I continue to love others and you, gain strength from you, find hope in you, and seek mercy from you. Amen.”
Simple. Those were really the only words I could come up with. After all, I hadn’t consumed any coffee up to that point.
After I realized I wasn’t even stretching anymore and was using the handrail as a leg rest instead of a stretching instrument, I plugged in my headphones, clicked on my music app, and went straight to my “Worship” playlist. Hey, again, it’s Sunday.
Mile 1 was good. 7:48 passed. I felt strong, jamming and gliding to an upbeat Housefires song. I can’t remember which one but I recall the clapping. I zoned out and imagined the clapping Chris and I will get on Saturday when Emily announces us as husband and wife for the first time. Ah, what a wonderful sentence I so look forward to hearing.
Then mile 2 hit. A different Housefires song – one of my favorites – started playing through my headphones but it wasn’t upbeat. My beloved song slowly building, softly and intentionally being performed by this praise band, I felt heavier. Sure, I was approaching that steep hill by Terminal West. But, it wasn’t just physical heaviness. It was something else. I tuned into the words that I know so well. My tear ducts went into automatic mode.
There I was, running up this lengthy hill, sobbing at the words of:
“Come to the water, all who are thirsty. Come and drink.
Come to the table, all who are hungry. Come and feast.
Those who are weary, those who are needy, come receive.
Come to the river, come to the river. Taste and see.”
My sunglasses hid my tears but not so much the goo gathering below my nostrils. The drums and bass kicked in and instead of feeling heavy, I all of a sudden felt light. Emotional, but light. Sure, I was at the top of the hill. But it wasn’t that the surface had flattened out. It was something else.
“Oh, oh my soul thirsts for you, you alone.”
As I mouthed the words, my legs went into speed mode. I thought about the upcoming week. Family and friends gathering in one place to celebrate the covenant of marriage. To celebrate a union. To celebrate something God has been behind the entire time.
“I will taste and see that you are good.”
Then I celebrated. While I was running. I didn’t do any jumping or waving of my hands in the air. Instead, I let the tears gently roll down my hot face and smiled.
What an incredible reminder during my run this morning. We can stretch with the best of them, start off strong and fast, and think we got this. But a hill is inevitable. The grade varies, but it’s a hill nonetheless. However with any hill, there’s always the top. And then we celebrate. We let the tears roll down and we smile.
Chris, a little message for you even though you’re currently soaking up the rays and surfing the waves. We have had hills in our four and a half years together and I know there will be more. It would be naive of me to say we’ve reached our hill max. Here’s the thing though. I promise to anticipate the top. And then, I promise to smile. Always. So much immeasurable love I have for you and share with you.
Let the wedding week festivities begin.