[From the archives, originally posted on New Year's Eve 2012.]
When you get up to run before dawn, it’s dark out. When you run in the dark, you take your chances. I know that, but I still run early because otherwise I wouldn’t run at all. It’s worked out fine.
Until this morning.
I wrenched my ankle good this morning. Actually, I turned it twice on that run. Why, you ask, did I turn it twice? Wouldn’t once have been enough? For most people, perhaps. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you undoubtedly have realized I’m not like most people.
But I digress. Back to this morning. Within the first quarter mile I stepped off the edge of the road, where the pavement drops an inch or so to the dirt shoulder. Only I didn’t step all the way off the road. My foot landed half way between being on the blacktop and the dirt. It rolled outward and I did that little hop-hop-hop one does with a smarting lower appendage.
I took a couple steps rather tentatively.
The ankle felt fine, so I continued. This morning’s run took me onto a paved path that runs alongside a beautiful little creek, trees reaching overhead from each side, meeting in the middle. Some of them are pine trees. Pine trees produce pine cones. Then they drop them.
A little more than a mile from where my foot landed cockeyed on the road’s edge, I stepped down onto a small pine cone, rolling the same ankle the other way. I did the hop-hop-hop. This time I considered turning back home, walking rather than running. But as I stepped around a bit, I noticed that it didn’t feel all that tweaked. So I kept going.
My plan was to do six miles or so this morning. When I got to the halfway point, I noticed that my body was feeling really good. I felt strong and able to keep my breath well. In fact, this was one of my best times out running in a long time. And I hardly felt anything tweaky about the ankle.
So I stretched out the run a bit more, turning up one way instead of going down the other. When I finally got home and mapped the run on my computer, it showed a distance of 6.2 miles. Not bad. Stamina improving and all that. My ankle, on the other hand, was a different matter.
As soon as I stopped running, it hurt. I had limped into the garage and then the kitchen. Then I limped into my room and the shower. I could barely stand on that foot when getting dressed. It hurt.
How odd that the rest of my body could feel so strong, so able, on that run. Didn’t it know that the ankle was in bad shape? I would have thought that such an integral component to going out for a run would have been able to tell the other body parts that running should be stricken from the morning’s agenda. But something kept my body moving.
My walk with Jesus is like that. Or perhaps I should say that my all-too-often attempt to walk in spite of Jesus is like that. I can be petty and small-minded. My laziness reaches epic proportions at times. I have to fight against indulging my unwarranted superiority complex. I can speak sharply to people, people who have done nothing to deserve it, who are struggling through their day, who certainly do not need to be subject to my oh-so-wittily vicious tongue. Yet something, or rather Someone, brings me back to moving in God’s direction.
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27.)
Living in Christ is beyond my own abilities; Christ living in me is not beyond his. (John 15:4-6.) I look at myself and see things like spiritual wrenched ankles that should sideline me; God looks at me and sees a person he has wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14), a work of art created for his awesome work. (Ephesians 2:10.) The reason I can keep going is because he keeps me going. (Philippians 4:13, 19.) And it’s all to his glory. (John 15:8, Philippians 4:20.)
Tweaked ankle or not.