My Body is a Temple: Running Through Lent


The other day I was running in the treadmill at the YMCA. And I looked down at the clock. And I was filled with awe. I had been running for fifteen minutes without even really thinking about it. Sure, I was distracted by something trashy on daytime TV. But when I started the c25k program in January even those baby steps seemed tough. Running a whole minute was a challenge. And now three? And then five? Then eight? The first time it jumped to ten I thought I’d die.

Even a few days before, during my first run back from vacation, I had trouble finishing the whole 20 minutes. I walked for a bit in the middle. And here I’d run 15 like it was nothing.

I spent a good part of that run thinking about the phrase “Fearfully and wonderfully made.” My run became a prayer of thanks. Thanks for my body, and its design. A body that is so adaptive we can do things one day we thought impossible the day before.

I wasn’t raised in the tradition of giving things up for Lent. I was always under the assumption that it was just for Catholics. And we weren’t Catholic. My friends at school always seemed to forget anyway. Or they would give up something unimportant to them. Or they would just skate by using the letter of the law. “I mean, these are sugar free, so it’s not REALLY candy, right?”

As an adult, though, I have some to understand Lent as a period of preparation. A time when we make a sacrifice as thanks for the ultimate sacrifice. A time of reflection and thanksgiving. I’ve realized we don’t actually have to give things up. We can add to our lives. Last year during the Lent season I finished my memoir “Hope Springs.” This year by Easter I want to have sent it to as many agents as I have information for. I’m about halfway through the list and have gotten stuck. Easter gives me a deadline.

But there’s something else I want to do this year. I want to run. Because I can. Because God gave me a body that can run a little further every day. And I’m thankful for that. After finishing my first 5k a few weeks ago, I’m now going to continue my training with the 10k program.

Of course during Lent we all want to read our Bibles more. (And by more, I mean at all for a lot of us.) So during my runs I’ll be listening to an audio version of the Old Testament. I have one with music and a cast of stars and sound effects that occasionally make it sound like Lost.

I’ve already taken a few runs this way and learned a few things. First, the “begats” are not helpful for running uphill. I can’t imagine this making it into my training playlist at any point. Second, the story of Abraham and Sarah is no less painful for me hearing it compared to reading it. And I always get a little worried I’m gonna get pregnant at 90. Let’s all agree together that won’t happen. In Jesus’ name Amen. Finally, running and listening gives me an interesting opportunity to listen. And question. And wonder.

I’ll keep you updated. Anyone have any Lent projects they want to share?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: My Cinderella Story | Thoroughly Modern Mommy

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