29 December 2014 ~ Comments Off


One of my main methods of exercise lately has been jogging. It’s a struggle every time, but it’s also produced the greatest results, so I keep trying in spite of the pain and frustration.

One of my jogging routes is slightly longer, taking me back around a set of sports fields instead of just looping the tidy lake adjacent to our neighborhood. I usually skip the fields after dark, but twice during Christmas week I found myself out running just before sunset, so I took the scenic route.

The funny thing about the sports-field run is that it’s equal parts inspiring and depressing. Or maybe “depressing” isn’t the right word. Maybe it’s equal parts positively and negatively inspiring. Ringing the fields is a paved trail, and beyond that are woods. Granted, they aren’t thick woods (you can plainly see the houses on the other side) but they still make me think about disappearing into them. Could I run off and never be found? I thought to myself on each of those two runs last week. The problem I found within those thoughts was that I’d still be conscious. I’d be missing, not gone. I’d still know where I was, so I could never truly disappear. And that was what I wanted to do. Not just run away from my home and my work and my problems, but actually be gone and done.

In the midst of those dark thoughts, the positive inspiration came in the light and shadows of the “golden hour.” As dull and dead as a winter soccer field looks, there’s nothing quite like the warmth of the setting sun to light it on fire. I snapped several photos of this oft-missed everyday spectacle with my phone, snapping over my shoulder to capture my shadow running beside me.

And while just a moment before I’d been contemplating my escape from this life, I found myself suddenly filled with the sun’s warm light. No longer enjoying the single track I’d had looping on my iPhone all run, I switched over to Shuffle and was immediately blasted with Calling Glory’s “Don’t Give Up.” And as lame and clichéd as it was, I lifted up my face and started running. I thought about the faith I used to have in something bigger than me. I remembered the strength that it gave me. I don’t have that faith anymore. I realized it never made me feel as though everything was going to be okay in the end. In fact, everything is just as not-okay today as it was back then. But I remember when those fiery sunsets used to feel like smoke signals from the Great Beyond. I remember when the right song coming on at the right time felt like a letter straight from God to my aching heart and floundering spirit.

I know these are mere coincidences. But I also know that they buoyed me enough to keep me from disappearing into the woods last week. And if that’s what keeps me here from day to day, maybe it’s enough.

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