Yesterday I did something I haven't done in a coon's age. (whatever that is) Once in a blue moon. (whatever that is).
I put on my running shoes and I ran.
For the last couple of weeks I've felt nudged to run and for very selfish reasons. I need the drugs. I need the endorphins it releases into my system. I need the natural high that God wired us to have when we do what he created us to do. All these chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, etc are laying latent inside of me until I actually do what it takes for them to be released. When I don't, my life begins to lack pleasure and take on pressure.
I feel the battle of pressure and pleasure is the best way of describing the war going on in my soul. The interesting thing is that when I feel pressure, the last thing I want to do is something like run. I want to work to relieve the pressure. But the more I work, the more I spiral into a splintering of that pressure into hundreds of micro-pressures. It's sick and sad, really.
So I've almost heard my soul screaming through the gag I've shoved down it's throat: "Put on your running shoes and run." That's it. Doesn't sound spiritual, but every day I've heard this line in my head rolling around like a marble. And yesterday, after feeling layer upon layer of not-so-great-news pile upon my heart, I obeyed the voice. I put on shorts, dusted off my black running shoes, and started jogging down my driveway toward the dirt road that was awaiting my pounding feet.
The crazy thing was the minute I jumped off my front porch, it started to rain. I thought in my head, "I should go back inside and wait for the rain to stop." But something deeper and louder said, "This will make it even better...when was the last time you ran in the rain?" So I soldiered on.
I hate running for the sake of running. I loved running as long as it was after a ball or for a victory, but competitive sports are in my rearview mirror to the tune of almost 20 years. This business of running for the sheer joy of running is something I just can't relate to for the life of me. But I studied some of the natural drugs in my body a couple weeks ago and exercise releases several chemicals that supposedly keep me from getting depressed and positively alter my perspective on things. It was touted as ultimately making me feel a sense of pleasure afterwards. So I ran. And ran. And ran.
Mind you, it wasn't a marathon. It was only 2 miles that felt like 20. But I didn't stop running...I ran through ever ache and cramp. I ran through every thought that said, "Just take a moment to walk". I ran through every mental barrier that said, "Don't run all the way to Bailey, turn around at that driveway just ahead." You can't believe how many thoughts I had to overcome in those two miles.
And you can't imagine how the pain worked it's way around my body screaming at me to stop. It started in my lower back of all places. It felt like my back was going to give out. But that either subsided or was trumped by the pain in my knees. I began to feel like my knees were crippled with arthritis...it felt like cartilage was crushed and tendons were torn (they weren't). But my knees felt better after a mile when my hips began to feel as though they were coming right out of their sockets. Seriously. Every time my heel hit the gravel, my hip felt like it crumbled into pieces. But that's just the thing, all these devastating things were "feelings". Every bone and muscle in my body was saying to me, "You're hurting me" and yet my soul was saying, "You're helping me." Weird stuff.
I plan on doing it again today. I don't know if it's a placebo effect or a legitimate download of drugs into my system, but it brought catharsis and relief. It, at the very least, transferred my pain and pressure to my body from my mind. Whatever happened, it did something.
And the rain only made it better. I felt cleansed. And that's a good feeling.