There are days when I am just in the “zone”. Today is one of those days and I make no apology for just savoring every minute of the gloriousness around me. This morning I began my run long before first light. In the pre-dawn darkness, the weather was cool, low humidity with a slight lake breeze as my headwind for the first half of my distance. I could smell the Lake that I couldn’t see; enjoying every breath as I ran one of my favorite routes.
In the early morning darkness, I run in the street because the sidewalks are often not level with obstacles that are easily missed if one is concentrating on form, speed and the environment around. I also love that in this small suburban town next to a Lake, there is no traffic along my route. On a 1 and 1/2 hour run this morning, I encountered two automobiles.
I don’t like to be forced to study the ground but to look ahead and take in what surrounds me. I found myself enjoying the darkness, the feel of the wind and increasing the pace to test my speed work. I love the solitude; alone with just my thoughts and my environment.
As I ran mile after mile in the dark, I watched the indigo sky change to lighter blue that would indicate sunrise would follow. Yes, there wasn’t a single cloud; I just knew with the crispness of this time of day and year, the day was going to be spectacular. I also know that fall is coming but not here yet; I seized the early morning for myself alone grateful for the experience.
The light came fast with a vengeance that was very noticeable. One minute it was dark; the next minute, I could read the street signs and see into the forest that line much of my path. I do my best meditations and prayers along my early morning routes; such affirmation punctuated by occasionally being sprayed by the automatic sprinklers of my neighbor’s watering their lawns. Those sprays felt wonderful this morning.
After my run, I checked my duty schedule at the cathedral to make sure that I wasn’t serving the early morning mass. I live in fear that I will forget something as I train for my cathedral ministry duties. I usually mark my calendar to be sure that I am prepared for what I am asked to do but my age makes me check my schedule to be sure I haven’t left detail off. At my age, schedules are dangerous but lists are good; just like back in residency.
No early morning mass duties but service at the late mass. I could linger over my French Roast coffee, savor the wonderful early morning solitude as I sit outside my front door to watch the day getting started for my neighbors. I love that I live in a development that is surrounded on three sides by thick forests and plenty of trees. I love the sound of the wind rustling the trees, the birds waking up and the pure smell of the nearby Lake (one of the Great Lakes). My townhouse is surrounded by trees with trees in front of every one of my windows; love them swaying. Coffee just tastes better consumed outside sitting on my front steps with a smile for the one neighbor who walked her dog at this hour.
I dressed for service and headed to the Cathedral which is downtown. The clearness of the morning, the blueness of the sky and the defined outline of the skyline was amazing. As I entered the back hall, picked up my materials for the later service-the last of the summer, I entered the nave of the cathedral, dark but for the glow of candlelight and the open doors. We don’t have air conditioning in the nave and rely on strategic doors opened or closed for ventilation and cooling. Today was perfect.
I always say a prayer of guidance that I might touch those who need to be touched and comforted. For me, the connection of the spirit is why I know I have been called to these duties. I do them with joy, peace and gratitude as I am able. My heart is not worthy of such connections but I receive them anyway. I am a person of humanity and cannot be any other kind of person these days. A smile, a touch, a hug-all of these are my ways of connecting with a very large family of fellow worshipers that I have come to know and love. Like my patients, I receive far more from them than I could ever give of myself.
One of my family, a recovering alcoholic asked me if I would think “poorly” of him since he took a drink after 15 months of abstinence. He knows that I am a physician who has much experience with addiction but I reassured him that he knows the consequences of taking a drink (his past experience), he also knows what comes next and I have faith, prayer and forgiveness for his action and for him to get back into a place of sobriety. I also have support as he needs because what I “think” of him is nothing in comparison of what he “thinks” of himself. I told him that he is a human being who will have human actions and that’s all of my thoughts. I am here if he needs my assistance.
I have many conflicts of my own these days. I am attempting to work them out one hour and one day at a time. My key to my work on my conflicts is to live in the “gray” areas and not in precise definitions. There are aspects of my life that will not allow for definition and I am very comfortable with those areas/aspects.
And so I keep running, keep questioning my fitness to do what I am called upon to do. Today, I question with the backdrop of a spectacular day. If this is my last day on Earth, I have lived and I have loved and I am connecting-ziggy and zoggy. My heart and my head have never been better. I am coming to terms with the realities of my life and it’s just fine. I am far tougher than I ever imagined I could be; mentally and physically.