I like running.
Well, I used to love it. I loved the way it made me feel. I liked the idea of it – simple, difficult, and disciplinary. I liked the way it would make me sweat – even on a cold day. And I loved how my legs felt after a difficult run. I loved running up hills, even if they were steep, and then enjoying the view. I loved sprinting along flat stretches. Every time I went out for a run, I came home happy and refreshed. I told everyone, “there’s no such thing as a bad run.”
But, time passed. And I had a kid. I had another kid. Both of those pregnancies were hard on me. I had problems with my pubic symphysis. I can’t describe the pain I experienced when I took a single step (well, when I was pregnant, my steps were more of a shuffle). Because of the pain and instability in my pelvis, I couldn’t put on a pair of pants (long before the belly got in the way). Running? Ha! A single mile would leave me in a buzzing pain for two days. So I stopped.
I had my baby a year ago (tomorrow), and I started running again last summer. I’ve been running pain-free since then, but with a ten year old, nine year old, two-year-old, and a nursing child (well, he’s not nursing anymore, but in the summer he was), I didn’t find much time to run. I have exercised here and there, am still eating like a pregnant woman, so I still haven’t lost the weight (it was my fourth! I’m older now! It’s harder…excuses, excuses).
Which brings me to running: I can’t run as fast or as far. Running with extra weight hurts my feet more. I feel my belly jiggle. I feel my butt and thighs with each pounding step. I think about what I’m eating, how I’ve gotten to this point, and I remember how I used to be, and it gets me a little depressed.
So…while I’m on the run, I get these negative thoughts, and find that’s what I spend my time focusing on. I focus on the ground. I focus on the pavement. I feel each movement, and watch the white line…
I notice only the road and my difficulties – even when I’m in the middle of doing something good – and end up spending all of my time looking down.
I was running a few weeks ago, coming down a hill…focusing on the white line. When I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, my scenery.
As I did so, the thought came to my head, “It is better too look up“. When I chose to look up, finally, I started to forget about how tight my pants were. I forgot that I’ve got an “extra chin” for now. I forgot that I used to do this run without talking walk-ing breaks. Instead, I remembered the love that Heavenly Father has for me, and how He values me – especially the physical sacrifice I’ve made for my children. I realized that, while it is okay to want to progress, I can also be happy along the way. Each run, each act of discipline, doesn’t need to be done in heaviness of heart. Instead, I can look up to the Lord and feel revitalized and inspired by His Love.
Elder Cook teaches,
“Experience has taught me that if we, like President Monson, exercise our faith and look to God for help, we will not be overwhelmed with the burdens of life. We will not feel incapable of doing what we are called to do or need to do. We will be strengthened, and our lives will be filled with peace and joy. We will come to realize that most of what we worry about is not of eternal significance—and if it is, the Lord will help us. But we must have the faith to look up and the courage to follow His direction.” – Carl B. Cook
I know that what Elder Cook is teaching is true. I have also experienced it. As I look to the Lord, I will not be overwhelmed with the burdens of life. I don’t know how Heavenly Father does it, but I know that He strengthens us. I know that He loves us. I know that He has blessed us with our personalities, talents, and even desires. I know that He wants us to pursue those. Yet, along the path, we have duties, weaknesses, and other things that get in the way of what we think will make us happy. I know that if we keep looking up, to the Lord, then He will consecrate our afflictions for our gain, and, even if our burdens aren’t lifted, we will be strengthened.
I feel like looking up is the key to enjoying the process. It is the key to enjoying every single run. Instead of thinking of the end, or thinking of the past, we need to look up right now. We need to be grateful right now. We need to be happy right now. I love it: look up!
What do you do to remember to “look up?”