Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's all in the Timing...

I like to say I'm an optimist, but I’m not sure if that’s true.  When life is going really well, I have this nagging feeling that something is bound to go wrong soon.  Life can’t stay this good – the law of averages just doesn’t allow it.  I think I also feel this way because I’ve had it rough in the past and I’m afraid that all the wonderful things in my life now are bound to slip through my fingers; it’s almost as though I feel as though I can’t get a hold on all this happiness.  For a while, before I meant my husband, I was used to things not working out in my favor.  I never had enough money and was always working two or three jobs to make ends meet.  I was unlucky in love, and disappointed by people I cared about, let down by friends.  My family was far away and I felt isolated from them.  I think I was used to life being that way so that I was just beginning to expect it to stay that way.  I felt like God was too far away for me to reach.

Then one winter night in early 2006, I walked into a Hollywood Video in Fresno, CA, and was assisted by a tall guy behind the counter with polite mannerisms and a nice smile.  I walked out of there that night and I’m sure I thought I would never see him again.  When we reconnected a month or two later, by chance, I still had no idea that meeting him would change my life as completely as it did.  It wasn’t that I suddenly had enough money or was surrounded by friends I could count on.  My family wasn’t closer.  But I know that my heavenly father sent me this man who would eventually be my husband.  I had no idea at the time, but I know our “chance” meeting was orchestrated by my God who knows so much better than I what I need and provides it for me.  Love, when it is right, brings out the best in you.  It changes your perspective.  It makes the future brighter. 

John Lennon once said “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”   When I was in high school, I had that along with other clever quotes taped up in my locker, but I don’t think I really understood it when I was 16.  Now, as I am older and have lived a lot more of life, I know the reality. 

I moved to California to gain state residency so that I could get financial aid for the college I wanted to go to.  I ended up I Fresno because my grandparents live here and they let me live with them for a few months while I got my feet under me.  When I still didn’t get the aid I needed to go to the school I wanted, I was devastated.  I stayed in Fresno “temporarily” and two years later I met my husband.  Now this is my home.  I have a job I enjoy, friends, a house, a dog, and a whole new family.  I am blessed, and yet I am always amazed how it all worked out.  I never would have chosen this path, and yet I am thankful in hindsight that my plans did not work out.  I know that God’s plan for me is so much better than what I would have chosen for myself.

So, now as I sit here on this beautiful May morning, with the California sun shining down on me, I fight the feeling that life is too good to be true.  I know that life is not easy and we will have trials and problems in the future.  But at this moment I am just thankful for all the wonderful things in my life, and most of all, the peace I have now that I never had before.  God’s timing is perfect, especially when it is not our timing!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I am an addict.  I think if we are honest, we all are.  Our addictions just vary in what they are and how strong their holds on us are.  We all have something we go to when life gets tough, and there are always times when life gets tough.  Ok, I'm not a big drinker, I've never smoked or done drugs, I don't like to gamble.  But I have my own vices.  Before I met my husband, I was a bit of a relationship junkie.  Instead of dealing with emotions and situations that are hard to deal with on my own, I tended to rely on whatever relationship I was in to try to fill the void and make me feel better.  Not surprisingly, relying on another person to make me happy did not usually end well.  Sometimes I think having control in relationships and in life is a way that we Type As try to find fulfillment.  The fact of the matter is that life is not something that can always be controlled, and as I have learned (and still am learning), trying to feed my addiction to control tends to make me (and often the people in my life) unhappy. 

I have several other addictions that I like to escape to when life gets tough.  I have a small addiction to prime time soaps - specifically Desparate Housewives and the like.  Not intelligent television by any means, but the drama of their lives makes me feel like my own problems are small and insignificant in comparison.  I have other addictions, among them cleaning and nagging my husband about cleaning (the control freak rears her ugly head), Ben & Jerry's raspberry cheesecake ice cream, Chinese food, and long hot showers.

Another addiction I have is the one that actually often helps me avoid the other addictions, and not feel too guily when I do indulge in them.  I am addicted to running.  I have found that running is a healthy outlet for my inner control freak.  Setting goals for myself and striving to meet them, whether that be how many miles I run or how fast I go, allows me to channel that focused part of myself into something constructive and healthy. 

The other side of the coin is that running is a release of control.  When I run, I lose myself in the music in my headphones and the thoughts in my head.  When I find myself busy throughout the day, I find the only time I take sometimes to pray is when I run.  I talk to God, I write stories in my head, I give into the creative side of my brain that so often doesn't have an outlet in my other daily activities. 

When I tell people that I'm a runner, I usually get a response asking what I've won or what level I hope to compete at.  I am not a competitive runner.  I will never cross a finish line first or set a race record.  If anything, I compete against myself to be better than I was. 

I run for completely different reasons.  I run to stay sane.  I run because it provides balance in my life.  I run because it gives me perspective.  Any problem that seemed large before my run always seemed smaller afterwards.   Sometimes I run away from the stresses of my job, or the criticism of others.  Sometimes I run to lose myself in muscle aches and sweat.  There is something healing about the tight calves and sore heals of the first mile and the painless steady rhythm that comes after it.  I run to feel alive and physical.  I run to get out of the house and to get vitamin D from the sun and to exercise my dog.  I run to participate in races where I will be surrounded by strangers that I have an instead kinship with.  I run to fight gravity, and age, and to look good for my husband.  Sometimes I run to relax.  It's usually between a glass of wine and a run to unwind, and I figure the second option is the healthier one.  When I don't run, I'm more crabby, I don't sleep as well, and I am definitely more tightly wound.

Addiction may be a dirty word in our society, but I'm here to say there is one addiction I'm not trying to kick, and I don't plan to for the next thirty or forty years.  That's the other great thing about running - it is one of few athletic endeavors with no age limit.  Go to any race and you will see runners in their sixties, seventies, even eighties!  Many runners actually peak in their competitive performance in their thirties.  So, the way I see it, the best is yet to come.   I have many, many more miles ahead of me. Bring on the addiction.(-: