Leavin’ Me Breathless

Minor road leading to Żelechów, Poland.

Image via Wikipedia

Today I took a rather wonderful hour-and-a-half-long walk around my neighborhood.  It was gorgeous out, albeit a little windy, and I had a little skip in my step as the cool hint of Fall gently kissed my cheek.  The sun peeped out from behind clouds which seemed to threaten rain, but managed to restrain themselves.  Justin Bieber serenaded me in my own personal concert (baby, baby, baby, OHHHHH… don’t judge) as I marched along, left, right, left, right, breathing in peace and breathing out all of the pent-up anger and frustration I’ve been carrying with me lately.

At the beginning of my walk, I went at a slower pace to warm up.  Upon starting up my first big hill, my arms swung with a little more intent, my water bottle met my lips a little more frequently, and my legs began moving in power mode.  The hill was pretty large.  My breathing began to feel a little more labored and my side started to kink up a little, but still, I powered through.  Reaching the top was a welcome relief, though my hips were starting to ache and my abs were starting to make their presence a little more known.  My pace started to slow a little as Carrie Underwood sang to me about her cowboy casanova.  I mapped a route out for myself of possible places I’d like to go.  I had a general idea that I wanted to get up to the grocery store before eventually meandering on back home, so I turned down a street that looked familiar from a past bike ride and hoped for the best.

My pace started to pick up a little and steadied itself at a fast walk as I worked my way through the neighborhood.  My surroundings started to look less than vaguely familiar, but Bruno Mars started to sing about how I can “…count on me like 1, 2, 3,” so I kept on keepin on.  I surprised myself  by finding myself on the exact opposite side of the grocery store than I intended, which added quite larger distance than I originally intended on.  No big deal, though.  I just powered through the swarms of moms with their full shopping carts, making sure to smile and say hello once in a while.  Eventually I found myself down by my church and I realized that I wasn’t so tired anymore. My pace was consistently fast, my breathing even, my hips not as creaky, and my smile a little less forced.  I started to feel good about myself, good about the way my body was moving, good about where I was in life.

At that moment, I felt God’s presence just a little more than before.  I thought about the stages of my walk and what I could learn from them.  I thought about how lately things have been rather up and down.  There are days where I’m confident in where I am and where I am going.  There are days where my plan doesn’t work out the way I expected it to, and I am momentarily lost, but eventually wander back on the right path.  And there are days where I am climbing up hills with a cracking knee and splitting side and I wonder if I can even finish what I started.  But then I realized that had I stopped at the first tough hill I had to climb, I would have been left with pain.  The idea was that I kept walking and I kept pushing myself through it, and eventually I found myself in a place where I was experiencing some kind of “Walker’s High.”  Despite the struggles at the start of my journey, I found that my body adapted.  I grew a little more confident in myself and was proud of how far I had come.  And then I grew determined to finish with a bang, so I walked home the way with the other big hill. I knew I could do it, because I knew that God was with me.

So all in all, it was a good walk today.  A necessary reminder of the truth in the saying, “If you find yourself going through hell, keep going.”  It gets better, friends.  Just keep pushing through.  You will make it.