Today I ran.
I walked my body out the front door, armed with a song playlist, a couch-to-5K app, shoed in an old and dingy pair of tennis shoes, and a good man by my side. And I ran.
Over a year ago I took the same body - thirty-five pounds heavier - out time and again to attempt the same thing, only it couldn't do it. To say the least the failing was discouraging and defeating. It added to the toxic thoughts that breathed hot in my face with dank breath.
But today I ran. And when the app chimed, "Well done. You've completed today's run", I cried.
It's a small thing. It's a first day of a long program leading to a five-kilometer run which itself is kind of an entry-level running challenge. On this first day of the program the goal was to run and walk in intervals - running for sixty seconds, then brisk-walking for ninety seconds, repeating these intervals eight or nine times - sandwiched between five minutes of warm-up and cool-down walking at the beginning and the end. To some, that's no big deal. Even for Ma Luffin Mayun, the challenge was physically a breeze. As I panted and wheezed around the halfway point, I noticed that his breathing barely changed from its normal rhythm. It wasn't difficult for him, but he stayed beside me with steady, quiet encouragement.
I was sucking some serious wind today, but I did it. I started and I finished. That's no small thing to me.
Process is difficult, especially now when everything is readily available essentially at the touch or swipe of our fingers. Process is so often slower than we want with little instant gratification. Years ago I felt like I kept getting the same words dropped into my spirit: "Don't despise the process." I needed to hear that then. I need to hear it now. It's as real and true and pivotal for me today. It's process that got me out the door today, that has changed my body to the point that I could even attempt to run it around, and that will continue moving me forward. I am ever in-process.
Today, I ran.
I'm grateful for a changed body - a changing body, for the process that has been, and the process that still awaits. My gratitude in action looked like huffing and puffing my way down the Broad Street of our little town in a really ugly pair of running shoes . . . and believing enough in the process to make plans to do it again.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. - Zechariah 4:10