Last week at church, our preacher talked about how everyone has a "thing". That activity you go to when you need to figure the world out. Some people cook, Parke surfs...and for most of my life, I've been a runner. In fact, my best friends in college used to make fun of me for it, occasionally something would happen that I didn't like.. and I would just take off running...hence the nickname "The Runner". Probably not the best way of dealing with your problems.
After a long hiatus, I've recently gotten back into running a few mornings a week, and yesterday I finally felt my body starting to return to the rhythm that I've always loved- I guess some call it a "runner's high", to me it's always felt like strength and clarity.
Gracie has had a fever this week. I know many sane mothers who have told me that they lose all sense of reality with a sick child in the middle of the night, and start imagining the very worst. You couple that with the loss of a child, with something that started with a fever no less....well, forget about it.
Here is what I know:
1) Gracie is a perfectly healthy child
2) Perfectly healthy children get sick all of the time (especially when they are in daycare)
3) None of this matters when my perfectly healthy child is sick
So when I woke up yesterday morning and felt Gracie's head, which was cool as a cucumber, and saw my running shoes sitting beside the bed, the mental health alarm in my brain went off and I was out the door before I was fully awake.
Around mile two, I felt the adrenaline start to kick in. I started thinking about all the miles my legs have travelled. Through the hills of Clemson, when I was trying so hard to figure out what the next steps in my life would be. Through early morning training sessions and finally the completion of my one and only half marathon, when I was in the best physical shape of my life. Carrying me (and beginning to heal me) during my first run after we lost Rip. Up the steep hills of Tortola, Parke and my happy place, where we went right before I got pregnant and right after Rip died. I remember wondering then how I could possibly be the same person running up the same hills. But I was, and somehow the legs that carry me through each run seem to be an extension of the strength I find in myself. Somehow, after I am breathing hard and sweating and feeling like I will die, that's when I know I will survive.
By the time I got back to the house, I really did know that Gracie would be fine and so would I. The Runner is still running, but instead of running to get away, I'm running to stay right where I am needed most.