Reasons to Stop Running

Wildflowers from my usual trail.

Today I was running abnormally fast. I felt wonderful, strong and swift. I had my film score playlist blasting and, in my mind, I was a heroine dashing into battle.

But I sacrificed any personal bests I might have run for two very good reasons:

1. To pick up one of those plastic beer topper things. (What are they called?!)

2. To enjoy a prairie restoration area with its sunburst of yellow flowers.

I kept running and managed a decent distance and time, but these two things seemed worth sharing, for they have broader implications. It seems that our most fruitful rest is not found merely in stopping activity but in stewardship and admiration.

I didn’t just stop to catch my breath but because the litter I saw was ugly and could have hurt an animal. The geese might be mean to me but I still don’t want them to suffer strangulation by beer holder thingy. (Seriously, what is the word for those abominations?)

Stopping a couple miles later to savor the flowers was less obviously productive but it helped me to begin my day with thanksgiving. The flowers, bobbing in a morning breeze, reminded me to bow to the One who made us both, to thank Him for beauty in the midst of brokenness, and to remember that even the most strenuous path is decked with flowers.

So there you have it: two reasons to stop running that are also reasons to continue. Stewardship and admiration, graciousness and gratitude.

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