snowy walk

I promised myself I wouldn’t let exercise be one of the things I let go when we adopted our new son. I promised myself I would give myself permission to put some things on hold, but exercise would not be one of them. I promised myself I would continue to exercise.

I hate it when I break promises.

My body has been protesting and my brain finally figured it out. How did I go for so many days without exercising? It has become a part of my existence and yet it so easily was pushed out. How did this happen?

I’m not sure, but I know how to fix it. I made potato soup in the slow cooker in the early hours of the morning. I laid my layers of exercise clothes out before I left for work. When I came home, two of the kids were sledding. Hannah was stumbling over story and story and story, trying to get out everything she wanted me to know about the day. Jordan wanted an after school snack.

Andy was flipping through the mail. I pulled an apron on over my head. He glanced up from sorting. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Finishing dinner.”

He stopped sorting. Looked at me. “I thought you were going for a walk.”

“I know, but there are things that need done around here. Dinner and lunches and laundry and homework and –“

“Those things can wait.”

“Mom will you help me find that website for 4H?”
“Mom, will you come sledding?”
“Mom, will you read my new library book with me?”
“Mom, will you pour me some orange juice?”

I gave Andy the I-told-you-so-look and grabbed a glass from the cupboard. “Sure,” I said. I wished I didn’t have to force the smile. They each want to spend time with me. This should make me smile naturally — they want to be around me.

Andy continues to sort mail and I adjust my attitude.

“You should go for a walk.”

“I know, but there’s all of this.”

“It doesn’t matter. Going for a walk is bigger than all of this. Things can wait while you walk.”

I like how he doesn’t demand anything of me, but he speaks reason and truth into me. He doesn’t tell me what to do, but he makes it possible for me to do what I need. He knows a walk is important. He might even know it more than I know it myself. And so I let him pour the orange juice and find the website and finish the final steps of the potato soup.

I pull on my hat, slip on my gloves, and secure my watch around my wrist. “I might run a little.”

“I know,” he says. His smile is natural, not forced.

So is mine.

The snow was light when I started and dense when I returned. My body is stiff from being moved after being still for too many days. My spirit, though, it is limber. I remember why I made this promise of exercise to myself.

When I get outside and breathe in the air and hear the world, I feel grounded. The Lord speaks to me as my feet slap the pavement and my lungs burn and the stress I didn’t even know I was carrying slides off my too-tense shoulders. Today the snow swirled and I couldn’t help but know how very blessed I am. I’m healthy enough to walk (and run a little) in the snow and at home there are four little kids waiting for me to play and one man, finishing dinner and smiling. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

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9 Comments »

  1. It made me feel good just to read this Ruth. Thank you for sharing this story today…I needed to be reminded that there are things that can wait. As my own four tug at me to spend time together, I matter too. Food for thought, isn't it?

  2. My favorite part of the story…

    “I know,” he says. His smile is natural, not forced.

    So is mine. And…

    The Lord speaks to me…

    There's the bedrock your life, your family are built on.

  3. Yes, and you have a dream husband who is willing to support you even when it comes to the busiest time of the day. Walk/run on, Ruth.

  4. Ruth– so much to love about this piece– the pacing, the language, how your voice changes from beginning to end.

    Two chunks that I especially loved:

    “I like how he doesn't demand anything of me, but he speaks reason and truth into me. He doesn't tell me what to do, but he makes it possible for me to do what I need. He knows a walk is important. He might even know it more than I know it myself. And so I let him pour the orange juice and find the website and finish the final steps of the potato soup.”
    (This reads like a Valentine card!)

    “When I get outside and breathe in the air and hear the world, I feel grounded. The Lord speaks to me as my feet slap the pavement and my lungs burn and the stress I didn't even know I was carrying slides off my too-tense shoulders. Today the snow swirled and I couldn't help but know how very blessed I am. I'm healthy enough to walk (and run a little) in the snow and at home there are four little kids waiting for me to play and one man, finishing dinner and smiling. This is the stuff dreams are made of.”
    (I especially love the line about the stress you didn't even know you were carrying slides off your too-tense shoulders).

    Thanks, as always, for putting this important reminder out into the world. I am a better mom and human being for having read it!

  5. There is something special about walking/running in the snow. It is a freeing feeling to be cold and then warm. Feeling that stress slide off as you put it lightens the steps. It is all good. Glad you had this moment to be reminded of what is important for you.

  6. I'll admit, Ruth — this piece made me teary. Your writing is so true; so alive; so personal; so deep. I also loved your recount of the conversation with Andy…it all can wait. Life is such a balancing act; you are blessed with a wonderfully supportive husband to make it all possible :). Best…