Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Running for Nothing

Did you know that as of three weeks ago, David started running with me? I invited him, and I guess I thought he'd turn me down, since he has turned me down pretty regularly for the past 17 years. But for some strange reason (I suspect a bout of insanity) he actually said, "yes."

I have been running fairly consistently for about 12 years, and David has been running, well, like 5 times, I think. At least it was five times BEFORE he joined my routine three weeks ago. Now he has been running, oh about 15 times. Total. In his whole life.

Which is why I pretty much hate him. Okay, I don't HATE him, but I really HATE that after running for only three weeks, he is the one challenging me. Today I basically ate his dust the entire second mile. What's up with that? And yes, I do have issues with being competitive.

But then again, there is something pretty cool going on here. Something deeper than physical fitness, and running speeds, and endurance. David and I are learning to be teammates.

We have teamed up to paint a room or plant a garden or even parent our children. I am sure those events have laid the groundwork for our next steps--which go to a whole new level. From now on, both here and when we move to France, David and I have to figure out how to work together in EVERYTHING. He no longer goes off to his own job for eight or more hours everyday. I no longer have the run of the house. We are in it...in ALL of it...together.

I remember an older friend telling me about her adjustment to having her retired husband at home all day. She said, "For better or for worse, but NOT for lunch." It was funny then. Now? Not so much.

Actually, I delight in all of the time I get to have with David. We are good at having fun together. We are still learning to be good at working together, which is really a whole new world.

And to add to the mix, we are each growing individually. I am not the same as I was yesterday, and neither is he. It is a great place to be, but challenging in so many ways. We cannot even predict how the other will respond to the most common of stimuli. We need to communicate better, grow in grace for each other, encourage strengths, and gently challenge weaknesses. It could be overwhelming, except for this one thing: We are running together.

In the simple act of running we are forced to communicate better (or learn to hold our tongues!), to show grace (and to receive it!), to encourage strengths (with genuine praise!), and to gently challenge weaknesses (without judgement or shame!). It is a training ground for us, in more ways than one.

I am sure that I will be a better runner for having David as my partner. It means I can't always set the pace, or choose the route, or decide on the time of day. Being a team means dying to myself just a little bit more. And that, my friends, is the deepest desire of my heart. Remember my motto? Less is more, but NOTHING is EVERYTHING.

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