This might be premature, but I find it interesting that what has motivated me to take up running is teaching. More specifically, my students. “Take up running” means I’ve gone for four runs in the past week. It could all fall apart very soon (definitely has happened before), but I think this might be here to stay for the time being.
A couple weeks ago I came to a realization: I don’t sacrifice for my students. They come up in my prayers and I hope the best for them. However, I don’t often find myself tangibly offering things up for them, other than allowing them to keep living after a particularly trying class period.
I’ve realized this lack of sacrifice before. This time I was compelled to do something about it. Running is something good for me and good for them. I find myself thinking about them as I run and offering up my labored breaths for them.
Yet the more I run (think: slow jog), the more reasons I find to keep doing it. I’ve run twice through my neighborhood and while I don’t like it as much, I think I might keep it up because it gives a new perspective and new prayer intentions. I run past a home and I hear the muffled sound of a man and woman arguing. Or I run around a bend and see two kids in front of a house, a larger pre-teen girl slapping the head of a smaller pre-teen boy. The girl looks belligerent and the boy has his defenses up but is angry. She glances at me and there are no more blows while I run by the house.
I find myself praying for peace as I meander the streets of my neighborhood. This little heart inexplicably finds itself aching for situations I will never know about, fights I will never see, hurtful words I will never hear, but that are happening in these places so near to me. I prayed for peace to flow through these houses. For homes to be places of peace, not places where we take up arms against our flesh and blood. For parents to show their children how to love. For people to experience the love and peace of Christ that I have experienced.
It is not that much, and I should in all rights probably be doing far more. But for now, I am running for my students. For their addictions, depression, relationships, struggles, and hearts. When I nearly convince myself to not go for a planned run, I remember them and realize I’m not doing it for me, but for them. And it makes me run.