Last night I went for a run at Gulley Park. I used to run there regularly, so it’s like visiting an old friend when, like yesterday, I got to run it after so long being away.
Running is like church. When I’m running I feel like I could fly, and sometimes I do run with my arms raised like a bird. Yes, I’m that crazy lady on the trail, but I don’t care because it feels so damn good. There is so much joy and gratitude in being able to run outside in January here in Arkansas. Our weather is so erratic in the winter that it will be 60 and sunny one day and 20 degrees the next. So we grab the good days when we can and fly with them. It feels amazing and I’m so grateful to be able to run, grateful that my body has allowed me at this point in my life to be able to feel that joy. The exhileration is priceless. Immeasurable. Beautiful.
I was listening to the John Butler Trio radio station on Spotify. Let me just take a detour and say that Craig has been telling me about the John Butler Trio for years. We will be listening to them and every time I ask him, “Who is that? I really like them.” And he patiently answers, “The John Butler Trio. You ask me that every time.” I finally got the message and played them voluntarily on my own for the first time yesterday. As I listened to the John Butler Trio and ran up the hill next to the pine trees with all the young lovers giggling in their double hammocks together, breathing the cool air deep into my lungs for that sweet burning sensation that I love, and that feeling of my body burning with effort, I thought about my friend Eileen who just started her first rounds of chemo on Friday. She runs too. But she can’t right now because she needs to take a break and let her body kick some serious cancer booty.
I know she is in good hands. She has a great team of nurses helping her, a great doctor, and an amazing and supportive husband and beautiful family, not to mention a supportive community.
In my joyful, exhilerating, and grateful run I am intentionally lifting Eileen up to a space where she can tap into that joy and exhileration and heal her body. This is church. And yes, if you see me lifting my arms like a bird when I’m running you might think I’m crazy, but I don’t care because in my own way I’m lifting Eileen up so that she can soar. And no, Episcopaleans aren’t known for lifting up their hands during a service, but I think they’d appreciate the sentiment of surrender, acceptance, and grace. We are gratefully and joyously receiving the blessing that is this life, this breath, this moment.
She’ll be done with chemo in July and hopefully back running again soon. In the meantime I hope to be able to keep lifting her up in my practice till she can get back on the trail and do it herself.
Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, entrepreneur, student nurse tech at a local hospital, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 22 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student. She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.