Sitting still and relaxing during times of stress have never been easy for me. The motion of a bike ride or a run helps me work out my frustrations and anxiety while I think about my "problems." I often decide that certain things are not worth the emotional energy I spend as I push my body through a training run.
|Backwaters of the Minnesota River near a trail through Fort Snelling State Park|
Besides dealing with stressful situations, I also have time for contemplation. Running through wooded areas, along water, or, near other athletes give me energy for becoming a better friend, family member, and resident of earth.
Intrinsically I know I'm no better than any other human being, and I try to live by the verse, "in humility, consider others better than yourself." Often it is easy for me to become self-righteous, questioning others' motivations and actions. On a run I can think about the good qualities of people I'm having a hard time with, and I can realize that I have no idea what their motivations are or why they act the way they do.
Riding my bike to work, I'm often remind how much easier life is than I make it out to be in my mind. I have food, clean water, shelter, and more possessions than any human could possibly need. I don't have to worry about where my next meal is coming from. Loving family, friends, and a community of believers at my church are thinking of me, praying for me, and offering me support--especially in times of stress.
And you, readers of this blog, have offered me a forum where I can share some of my inner thoughts, free from judgment. Admitting weakness, failure, anxiety, and insecurity is not easy for me to do. Too often I've been told, "You're overreacting," or, worse, "What you need to do is..."
Listening is a lost art. I'm not the world's best listener--I'm often thinking of what I want to say rather than really hearing the words of the people around me.
Although listening doesn't always come naturally to me, reading does. Reading an e-mail, Facebook post, or text message is easy for me. Responding to a difficult situation through those mediums is not.
Those who have helped me through difficult situations in life haven't always been those who have given me advice. Rather, they have been the ones who have said, "I don't know what to tell you, but I'm sorry you're going through this," or, "what can I do to help?" or, "I'll keep you in my thoughts."
So, to all of you, thanks for listening.