Thursday, June 17, 2010

Prayer in motion

Psychological health isn’t all that matters in cancer, but it’s worth the pursuit. The endorphin rush I experience during and after a run is accompanied by an immune response that I’m hopeful will help to stave off the return of melanoma mets. There are no guarantees in cancerland, but given all the other benefits of strenuous exercise, this is the closest I’ll get to a sure bet.

Running can also be sacramental when used as a time to praise and worship God. On days like last Saturday, when this photo was taken, running is literally prayer in motion. Its benefits go beyond its obvious effects on physical and mental health. When I run, I often experience a clarity of thought that eludes me in other circumstances. I find it easier to talk to God, and to hear what he wants to tell me. On days when I find it hard to sit still and listen to him, I can always run. I love knowing that his heart beats in rhythm with mine. In this way running is communion with the one who made me.

The IT band injury that forced me to stop running last year seems to have healed. I have an inflamed metatarsal on my left foot, but for now it’s merely an annoyance and doesn’t slow me down. I'm limiting my mileage to 20 to 25 miles a week, which fires up my immune system without risking serious biomechanical injury. I’d dearly love to run another marathon, but the training would consume me. I'll settle for being a recreational runner who spiritually multitasks. I'm content to let running keep me whole, and holy.

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