Yesterday was a first. Steve made the very wise executive decision that we need to cancel our gym membership. Not my favorite words to hear, but in light of the current job issue, he is right. As usual. So, disappointed girl, but $60 a month for the kids and I to go mess around really could be spent better elsewhere.
Me listening to my husband wasn't the first yesterday. (I know, shocker, right?) The first was now with no treadmill, I had to head to the Greenway to run with no kids...and no dogs. (The rat chihuahua doesn't count as a dog in my book) I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, until I hit the actual trail. I made the first turn and realized I didn't have to keep up with Duke. It brought tears to my eyes to see the gray heron on the other side of the creek, standing perfectly unmolested by Samson. I looked at that big goofy bird for the first time without him taking flight- because there was no monster dog bounding into the water and trying to catch him. The robins stayed about their business within a foot of me, because there was no fuzzy white beast running as fast as he could to chase them back to the air. Not only was I missing my kids, who should have been there as they always have been- riding their trikes, to their "big kid bikes" and now mature enough to keep up on foot- but I literally had two hands free and perfect quiet all around me. And I hated it.
My idea of a perfect run or walk on the greenway is at best my kids yaking away with me, two giant dogs on my left, and an occasion splash into the creek with those crazy dogs- just for fun. Second best is a friend by my side, chatting away for 6 miles. I love tormenting all the boring other walkers with my noisy family- hey if you want to watch birds, get out there earlier. I love to laugh as the cyclists flip me off because Duke is fast enough to beat their pace (no offense, Nancy, I understand why dogs are a nuisance to cyclists, but I still laugh!). He rip roars in front of them when I let him off his leash, then promptly turns sideways and waits, because he knows they will go around- hollering "You are the best, fastest, smartest dog ever!!!" and waving with one finger at his mom. Makes my day!
So yesterday was a first. In the last 15 years, I truly can't remember the last time I took a walk completely on my own. I spent the first two miles literally mourning my loss. What a dork, right? I wish I could know what the other walkers were thinking- fat lady chugging her way down the trail, bright red in the face with tears streaming down. No. Maybe I don't want to know.
But as I fought the urge to throw rocks at the herons and kick at the robins, God gave me a good slap. My TAG girls and I traveled through Philippians this week and I had asked them to write down one verse that struck their heart. Well, as I behaved like a big baby, God brought the verse I wrote down to the very front of my mind: "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." Phil 4:11 (FYI- Pauly was in prison when he said that. Yeah, makes me feel like a big goob for whining.)
We made our choices, I know they were the right ones- so why am I still mourning? Why do I cruise along just fine, and then freak out because of one little thing? (If you are thinking PMS- don't say it) Right answer: because my focus is on comfort and life, not on truth and eternity. Jesus is and always will be the greatest, most fantastic, happiest place for me to be. So stay there, girl. Easy to say, but hard to do. Thank God He loves us enough to whack us every once in awhile.
Needless to say, I spent the rest of my time on the trail LOOKING at the little wild things, indulging in the solitude and quiet, and writing my God Stop down when I got home: "No poop had to be picked up and no dirty paws were washed today". There are blessings to not having over 200 pounds of dog flesh to wash every day, and 70 pounds of that being a double coated, never willing to dry without a commercial blower, hyper active rug of a dog! Will I probably always miss my horses and especially my dogs? Yes. Do I have to remember it sadly or can I enjoy the good times and thank God they are with wonderful families now? I choose the latter. I can see Duke anytime I want, and my in-laws are loving making him a fat, lazy, good for nothing but a hug, lap dog. Samson has a whole slew of kids to kiss him, a mom who thinks he's hilarious and a sweet black lab for a girlfriend. I guarantee you they don't miss me- so I can be so glad for them. We are in a different phase now, with teenagers and city life. And it doesn't have to be a bad thing.
Next time I hit the greenway, I am bringing a smile, a great verse to memorize, and maybe even some bread for those ducks...now that they don't fly away as soon as they hear me. :)
The other verse God gave me as I cooled down. Oh, LORD, I am in awe of your incredible love- and your jealous devotion for my heart. Make it completely yours.
"continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Philippians 2:12b-13