Bless me father, for I have sinned: It's been four days since my last run.
No, I'm not actually Catholic, but I do like the idea of confession. I'm not actually religious in any shape or form, something that would disappoint my mother. For my mother, God represents comfort and solace, but when I was growing up, God was anything but those two things. God scared the bejesus out of me. My mom would tell me that God saw everything I did and knew what I was thinking. It bothered me that he was looking over my shoulder at the actions I committed, but I was mostly worried about the envasion of my thoughts.
I used to lay in bed late at night trying to clear my brain of any thought and then I would let just a single word or idea float into my mind: elephant! I had to wonder, had I beat God to that thought? Did he see it coming? Had it really been my thought, or had he put it there? Did I have any original thoughts? Or were they all planted by God? As a kid, I was plagued by doubt and confusion concerning God; I wanted to be good, but found it so hard. That's why, as an adult, I am still confused and doubtful, and am especially wary of "good" behavior.
As I grew up, I suppose I made a religion out of other ideas: boys, school, pleasing my parents. And lately, I think I have been religiously devoted to running. I certainly go running more times than I've ever been in a church. The physical exertion provides me with comfort and solace, even when it's difficult and challenging. It gives me time for contemplation and it gives me a mission. I will, perhaps, never be a zealot -- I don't know if it's in my nature -- but running helps me remain balanced.
My mother always said that being happy was about balance. She would lecture me about the importance of mental health, physical health, and spiritual health: each needs to be exercised. I agree with her, except for me, running fills in for the spiritual and physical. I just need to make some time for it.
Still recovering from the cold I had over the weekend, bogged down by student papers, and distracted by hurricane Rita, I haven't run since Friday. As I look over the schedule today, I wonder how I'll fit it in: I'm up to my neck in student papers and I have class tonight and all day tomorrow. I'll probably squeeze something in this afternoon; I'll need a break from those papers anyway. Everyone needs a space to worship.