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.
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.