What Do You Do When You’re Scared? You Run…

It’s been a crazy few weeks around here in my non-blogging life.

First – lots going on at work.  (I’m in love. Seriously.)

Then – the Boston bombings hit, and everything I had lined up to publish seemed completely irrelevant.  Then – there was that minor detour into the hospital (where I’m actually still at… but that’s another story.)

So – my whole life lately has been one crazy exercise in directly facing my fears.  A year or so ago, I heard the best idea of my life – every day, you have to do one thing that scares you.  I really wish I would have paid attention to where I read that or who told me to give it a try, because it’s completely revolutionized my entire life.  It doesn’t have to be something big and grand – like jumping out of a plane when you’re afraid of heights.  It can be something small but somehow more emotionally terrifying.  Some days, I’ve introduced myself to a new friend.  Some days I’ve reached out to people I greatly admire in their careers  and asked if we can meet for coffee so I can pick their brains and learn how they do what they do.  Some days I’ve turned off my phone for my own personal sanity.  (What if the world needs me??? AHHHHHH!!!!  But you know what?  The world goes on without me.  It’s a bit crazy.)

you run!
my ugly but well-loved shoes…

Confession time.

I run.  I actually really don’t love to run at all.  I’m not one of these amazing runners who bounds ouf of bed in the morning looking forward to a run.  I have to force myself to go out 3 or 4 mornings a week.  Once I’m out, running in the sunrise, it’s actually really beautiful.  And I love how I feel when i get home.  But excuses are easy to find and hard to combat.

So, Wednesday morning, I got out of bed.  Repeated my running mantra – Get outside right now.  Right now.  No excuses – over and over until I got ready. I cued up my music (current favorite – Young Guns’ 2012 album Bones) and took one step outside.  My heart twinged – and the thought crossed my mind.  Boston.  Am I really going to run a marathon now?  

I realized – if I wanted it – I had a solid reason to never run again.

But a life lived in fear is no real life.  For everyone affected in any way by Boston – the last thing I’d want to do is taint their legacy by saying, “Yeah, I’m afraid now.”  You just have to keep running.

So – in life, I have a new mantra.

What do you do when you’re afraid?   You run… run hard… run fast.

You run for everyone else who can’t run.  You carry people along with you.  You remind each other that today is not forever.  That we are not alone in this messy, beautiful, scary life.  There’s an old song I grew up singing that keeps reminding us all… “Sorrow may last for the night.  But joy comes in the morning.”

You run towards that joy.

As Jerry Sittser says in A Grace Disguised – “The quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise.”

So what do you do when you’re afraid?  You run… 

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