I decided to run to my parent’s house, about three miles away. So I strapped on my shoes and headed out the driveway.
Running mostly gives me flashbacks to when I trained hard every summer for college soccer. See, once I graduated, I didn’t run much (read: at all) from the age of 22 until, well, now. I’m realizing that at some point during those 12 years something in my body made unapproved adjustments (like a monkey running amok through an empty factory). My left achilles is very tight, and my right knee gets unbelievable sore after running on the road for about ten minutes.
In other words, I’m getting old. Things change.
* * * * *
I love certain aspects of running in the country (wide open spaces, less traffic, the feeling that the sky might swallow me up), and then there are things about running in the country that I don’t like (dogs, the almost constant smell of manure, and oncoming Amish who attempt to engage me in a game of chicken with their horse-and-buggy).
They always win. I jump into the field.
* * * * *
3.2 miles. Fortunately, it was mostly down hill. But on the final stretch, about 20 minutes after I had started, my knee hurt too much, so I limped to a walk. I drifted slowly down the long straight road that leads to my parent’s house, flanked by recently harvested corn fields that looked unseasonably desolate, ready for winter.
Then, a few hundred yards from the house I noticed something.
My dad was waiting for me, just standing there on the porch. For a few strides I felt like a kid again, coming home from a long training run – he was always so anxious to find out how far I had gone, how I felt. There we were, 20 years later, and everything had changed – I’m the one with gray in my beard, I’m the one with four little kids, I’m the one trying to figure things out.
Yet there we were, 20 years later, and while everything had changed, nothing had changed. I still ran the back country roads, and he still waited for me to come home.
* * * * *
You can keep running if you want. Or you can walk. Or you can limp down the home stretch. But something tells me that no matter what your condition, if you ever decide to go back, God will be waiting for you.