Ever a Surprise

Life is full of surprises. How’s that for a cliche? But you know it’s true. I can hardly go a day without being bowled over by something — and I’m guessing the same is true for you.

Last week my middle son (a bright-eyed wild child who can’t spare a second for a quick squeeze or a peck on the forehead) crept into bed beside me in the middle of the night and curled up with his cheek against mine. “I love you, Mommy,” he breathed. Not: “I had a bad dream,” or “I’m thirsty/hungry/not sleepy/etc.” No, he whispered I love you, plain as day, and I spent the next hour wide awake and cuddling him because it was such a wonder to find him beside me for no reason at all. Of course, not all of my surprises are so sweet. Finding a grasshopper in my favorite pitcher was a recent shock. Or learning that the splashing sound coming from the bathroom was my baby playing in the toilet (he can lift the lid all by himself–oh, the horrors).

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I love surprises. Usually. And nothing stuns me quite so much as when I surprise myself. I mean, seriously — I know me. I think I know me pretty stinkin’ good. It’s not often that I can pull one over on myself. But I just did exactly that.

One of my best friends has had a pretty rough 18 months. A family crisis, a devastating loss, a battle with cancer. It’s been very hard to watch her struggle, and yet, she has been (and continues to be) an inspiration. Over a month ago, after all this madness settled down enough that she could step back and take a deep breath, she approached me and a few of our friends and said that she wants to train for a half marathon. Would we join her?

*Quick (but very necessary) digression: I am not a runner. I hate running. When I was in high school and we had to run two miles for that stupid worthless waste of time mandatory presidential health test, I was the girl four blocks behind everyone else, wheezing and gasping and trying not to cry. Never mind that my dad was a marathon runner or that I had a runner’s body (I closely resembled a stick at the tender age of 15). I have always hated and will always hate running… Or so I thought.*

So, back to my story… My friend approached me with this goal, and because she has been such a bright spark, such a model of grace and peace in the midst of such turmoil, what could I do but cast my lot with her?

I’ve been running for a month, and what a surprise it has been. I love it. Really love it. I know I’m a fledgling runner, and I even feel a bit presumptuous calling myself one, but these weeks have been downright joyful. I’ve been taking it slow, working on a program that will have me running a 5k in nine weeks. So I guess I’m almost halfway there. And though I have no aspirations whatsoever to run a half marathon (shhh — that’s our little secret, okay?), I’m taking it one day at a time — and freaking out about running in my first official road race at the end of the month. Did I really sign up for that?!? And is it too late to back out?!?

Fears and frustrations and joys and surprise aside, I have to admit that I’m marveling at the girl in the mirror. The girl who gets up at 6:30 to log 5k before the kids wake up. The girl who can’t wait to lace up her tennis shoes and hit the trail. I’m not quite sure who she is, or what she did with the real me, but all the same, I kinda like her. Even if she is slow and awkward. I think it’s kinda cute when she almost trips over her own two feet. 😉

How about you? Have you done anything recently to surprise yourself???

the good life

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