First Run

I began running again. I wanted to try to capture some of the quirks that went through my mind on the first run of the season.

I begin. The sky burns an intense pink, as if the world were on fire. But I am cold.

Becoming conscious of it, I thank God for breath, and regulate. Nose, mouth, repeat.

Leaves carpeting the ground already? August, you betray me. Summer seems shortest always.

I hop the fence to my alma mater, like a child breaking in to their parents’ house. The greenery of this place is breathtaking and life-giving. The track approaches.

What are you doing? Right ear asks. You’re a fool.

Sprint the straights and slow on the curves.

Take it easy on yourself, right ear says.

You never take it easy on yourself, left ear replies. You’re in training now.

I run, feeling conscious of my limits.

I look up into a sky blueing vividly. A dove hovers above me in the form of a cloud. I will run with angels.

Final lap. I sprint the first straight to exhaustion and decelerate. The slow curve is kind to me. Everything is subdued. Still many steps ahead for recovery time before the very final straight.

I burn. The sky is cold.

Do you really want to run the final straight? Right ear asks.

You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t, left ear chides.

The dove is still there. My legs do slave labour. I finish.

I feel dead; I feel alive.

Nouwen: What We Feel Is Not Who We Are

I read this a few days ago and I felt there were many who might benefit from reading it:

Our emotional lives move up and down constantly.  Sometimes we experience great mood swings: from excitement to depression, from joy to sorrow, from inner harmony to inner chaos.  A little event, a word from someone, a disappointment in work, many things can trigger such mood swings.  Mostly we have little control over these changes.  It seems that they happen to us rather than being created by us.


Thus it is important to know that our emotional life is not the same as our spiritual life.  Our spiritual life is the life of the Spirit of God within us.  As we feel our emotions shift we must connect our spirits with the Spirit of God and remind ourselves that what we feel is not who we are.  We are and remain, whatever our moods, God’s beloved children.

Taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen, ©1997 HarperSanFrancisco.