In the midst of all this, I find myself missing family quite a bit. Not quite homesick, but not totally contented with my solo living, either. So it's a good thing I'm running.
God gave our bodies these lovely little chemicals called endorphins. They help me be a little happier. And running cranks up their production, which means that while I may be sweaty and squinting in the sunshine--after breaking my second pair of sunglasses this month--I'm doing my body and spirit some good.
And my iPod is just icing on the cake for this getting-better day.
You probably couldn't pay me to run without music. I need a steady drive in the bass and drums to kick my butt into gear, and I have at least three iTunes playlist dedicated specifically to the satiation of that need. Most of it is upbeat, but there are a few songs for the cool-down on the way home. Today's was "Why It Matters" by Sara Groves.
Sara is such a poet. And I love that music is something that evolved really naturally in her life. She was a teacher for a long time. Then one day, she decided to put together a record with her husband. How cool is that? And it wasn't some sort of fame-hungry whim that spurred her on. She doesn't write empty bubble-gum pop. Her music is story and spirit and beauty.
My favorite lines from "Why It Matters" speak for themselves:
Show me the love that never fails
The compassion and attention
'Midst confusion and dissention
Like small ramparts for the soul
How it matters
Like a single cup of water
How it matters
So while I may feel a little thin, I know God has my back. His love builds small ramparts for my soul, and I'm so thankful for each one. They come in all shapes and sizes, and I am always surprised to find them:
- a busy dad taking time out for a bike ride with his kids
- an old lady walking her dog which, oddly, looks a lot like its owner
- a couple kissing in the park
- the easy camaraderie of dusty, worn-out construction workers on their lunch breaks
- a bouquet of flowers on their way to be delivered to someone who is loved
- honest smiles from strangers
- the East Village college kid who stops to comfort the homeless man who, shaking in the grips of withdrawal, has collapsed on the street corner
- an over-scheduled Wall Street businessman taking time to give directions to an obviously-lost tourist
- the folks in Times Square with big smiles and signs that read "FREE HUGS"
It's easy to dwell on the war inside your spirit some days. But try finding the ramparts.
They're everywhere. :)