Let's be perfectly clear here: I did not intend to run 2 miles today. I intended to use today, my "rest" day, to do a light jog if I had time for it - something around a mile or so. And only if I got around to it.
This weekend is when our fall schedule and programming kick off here at church. And so as we creep closer and closer to this weekend, I find myself being more productive during the days (out of desperation, probably), and yet find myself feeling more stressed in the evenings, even as I cross more things off of my to-do list.
And so, by 5pm today, I was feeling a little more anxious than I wanted, and grateful that I had decided to bring my running clothes with me to church. I decided to go on a quick jog before my 6:30 meeting tonight. I looked up a route along the streets behind church, and even though I had really only wanted to do a mile, there was an easy-to-remember route that would take me 1.5 miles instead. So I went for it.
I made it to my halfway point, turned around, and started heading back toward church. I approached the intersection of my street and another street that I had run on a few months back. Turning onto this new street would surely increase my distance, and I was already feeling a little tired and frustrated. I had already walked part of a block, and didn't really think that I'd be any good at running any farther.
And yet, I felt completely drawn to turn. So, for reasons bigger than my own mind can figure out, I turned down this street, knowingly extending my run, but feeling like there was some reason to have turned nonetheless. I got about halfway down the street, when I noticed two boys walking down the middle of the street with pamphlets in their hands. It was one of my confirmation kids and his friends, who were going door-to-door selling magazines for school! I love all the youth that I work with, so it was great and fun and funny to see one of them! I'm sure that I startled him a little...me, his pastor, out running near his house, all red and sweaty and gross. Haha.
I continued along, and another block up, I ran into two of my good friends from church, who also live in the area! And so I stopped and talked to them for a bit. When I finally continued my run and finished my new route back to church, I realized that not only was running itself going to be the cure for some of my stress, but that it was also energizing and life-giving to see people whom I love and whom I love to serve.
There's a reason I chose to bring my running clothes to church today. And a reason that I left for my run a little later than I had wanted. And a reason that I turned on West instead of continuing on my route. 2 miles was definitely worth the effort today!