Julia is our guest blogger today. We are so grateful to you for continuing to donate in support of Julia’s fundraising marathon for A Nun’s Life Ministry. Pledge $1 per mile of Julia’s marathon — that’s $26.20 that will add zip to that grueling 22nd mile AND support A Nun’ Life Ministry. You can donate electronically or by check — DONATE NOW at aNunsLife.org/donate !

I went out on a run a few days ago. (Shocking, I know–sometimes it seems like that’s all I do.)  I got home from work and grudgingly got ready — I was not enthused about the prospect of an hour-long workout.  I racked my brains for some way, ANY way, that I could rearrange my schedule and take the day off.  Alas, there was no viable solution to be found, so off I went.

After a few yards, I came to a horrifying realization: I had forgotten how to run.

Oh, sure, my legs were still moving the way they were supposed to, and on the outside I looked relatively normal, but my heart was hammering and I couldn’t seem to get my breathing under control.  I couldn’t fathom running six miles; I didn’t have it in me.  But I couldn’t stop–this needed to happen, and it needed to happen TODAY.  What was I going to do?

As I turned on to the trail that runs near my house, I made a deal with myself.  One mile: that’s all.  I would go down the trail one mile, and if I couldn’t figure out how to calm down, I was allowed to turn around and go home.  After all, I reasoned, one mile made me much less nervous than six.  I could worry about schedules and logging more miles later.  I cranked up my music and worked on settling into a rhythm, and asked God to stick around: I was going to need major help on this one.

running trailAs I got farther down the trail, I saw my neighbors riding their bikes.  I spent some time looking at the gorgeous purple flowers that covered the ground beside the trail–they hadn’t been there the day before!  I passed two college girls who were talking about their finals, and I said a prayer for them (I remember finals week all too well).  I couldn’t wipe the grin from my face at the sound of a little guy giggling madly in his jogging stroller, on a run with his mom.  A saint bernard scared me half to death when he appeared beside me and nudged my hand with his nose, looking for a scratch behind the ears. (His name was Bailey, and he was the size of a small horse.)  And before I knew it, I was three miles down the trail, at the halfway point of my run, and feeling great.

Sometimes, life seems so big.  Every disappointment makes the earth stop spinning, and every choice is life-or-death.  I find that it’s quite easy to psych myself out and feel helpless looking at the “zoomed-out” picture, instead of thanking God for the smaller joys that make life so rich and complete.  I’m going to have to work hard to keep that in mind during the marathon, so instead of getting overwhelmed, I’ll seek out the little things: a loud cheer from a spectator that keeps me going for a few more steps, a cup of sports drink at mile 22, or the knowledge that I CAN do this.

What little joys has God put in your life today that brought a smile to your face?

Read all of Julia’s posts as she trains for the Ann Arbor Marathon.