Feeling grateful

Tonight I’m taking the sleeplessness as an opportunity to write.

Its 4:00 a.m.

Sure, I’d rather be breathing clearly and sleeping peacefully in my warm bed. But I’ve got my herbal tea, puffy coat, and beanie. Life is good.

The kids are happy and healthy. Last night I fell asleep chuckling with Aaron about our cute toddler, Kelsie who was so talkative during her bedtime tuck-in. She shared her 3-year-old stories and wisdom with us in such depth and expression. She reviewed her happy day of playing with her cousin, Jonah and helping us clean the church. And the excitement she feels as she anticipates re-building her backyard snowman soon.

Its simple moments like those that give me a deep sense of pure gratitude. With all the destruction, death, and pain in the world, I contemplate and appreciate the peace, life, and joy I am so blessed with. Grateful that I can look into my sweet daughter’s eyes and drink deeply of her joy. Her innocence. Her beauty.

Thinking about the severe loss and pain in the world and my contrasting peace and joy seems to trivialize my struggles. And soothe my frustration.

I’ve been working ravenously toward the goal of racing a fast half-marathon in the coming weeks with the hope of running sub-1:15 and qualifying for the marathon Olympic Trials. But the past few weeks have been a long slow final few steps of strained effort before falling on my face again.

A bad kink in my neck and even worse re-emergence of achilles tendinosis has tripped me up.

I’m sidelined.

And now I currently have my thumb on the reset button. Again.

It’s disappointing, yes. Frustrating. For sure.

But thankfully, in this moment, my gratitude and joy is far over-shadowing my disappointment and frustration.

Running is fun, challenging, empowering, and exhilarating. And I’m sure I’ll get to experience those feelings again soon.

But in truth, the very greatest joy in my life is through service to my family and to others. The most eternal and rewarding pursuit is in loving others.

And I refuse to allow my setbacks and frustrations disable me with self-loathing and sadness.

There is just way too much to be happy about. Way too much to be grateful for. Way too much to DO.

Let us keep seeing the good in life and and praying for those who have legitimate pain and suffering. Let us seek ways to lighten the load or soften the pain of someone in need. Because we can.

1 Comment

  1. Esther Erb Atkins

    Nan, I was just remembering my lackluster race at 2011 Houston Half and the highlight of meeting you on the airport shuttle, and then I found this. Keep your head up and stay relaxed. As you know, you can’t rush greatness and good things will come if you let them take their time. I hope you can find your own joy again soon in the ride along the way!

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