Sunday, December 19, 2010

When Your Running Partner Moves

It’s raining today, reminding me of home (north of Seattle) and keeping me indoors. I typically like to walk in the canyon on Sunday mornings while my children sleep and my husband is busy with church assignments. Our canyon is measly compared to Washington or Utah canyons, but it is the only canyon I have and I consider myself fortunate to live at its edge.

For ten years I ran in the canyon nearly every morning with my neighbor, Mary. Her porch light signaled her readiness. We met in the street at six am, our dogs wiggling at the end of their leashes. During those years, occasionally I had to run alone because Mary would be doing Mary-type other stuff, and when I did I’d run faster, harder and think that Mary was slowing me down. Shortly after Mary’s divorce, her dog died. Mary, Abbey, my beagle, and I scattered the ashes of Watson in the canyon. His passing marked an end of an era for all of us. Mary moved shortly afterwards and running became very difficult for me. I no longer had a reason to put on my shoes. Six am can be very dark and cold. Abbey became old,no longer interested in running. It took some time, but I eventually got a new running partner, Grendel, part Schnauzer, part running maniac. Sometimes, I think of Mary and Abbey and miss them with a lonely, nostalgic ache. I remember how stupid I was to think that Mary was slowing me down, not realizing that she kept me in my sneakers. But honestly, usually Grendel pulls so hard on the leash, it’s all I can do to keep up.

And that’s something like life. Jared has recently left for Taiwan, leaving a giant gaping hole which is slowly but surely being filled with new responsibilities and challenges. That doesn’t mean I love or miss Jared any less, or that anything could really replace him, but he is there and I am here and that is what I think God has intended. And the leash on my life is pulling me onward so hard, it’s all I can do to keep up.

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