Thoughts in my head today

Unless you’ve been under a rock I’m sure you’ve heard the news about today’s landmark Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.  You should read both the opinion of the Court and the dissent.  There are serious and thought provoking words from both sides.  There are a lot of emotions rolling around about this decision today but, in my opinion, no matter what side you are on, you have to be proud of the way the Justices wrestled with this very difficult and fraught issue.  Decisions like this are what the Court was made for, no matter how many people claim this is “legislating from the bench.”  Today is a day to be proud to be an American, regardless of your personal feelings about the decision.

I haven’t totally worked out my personal feelings about this decision. There are people in my life who I love dearly and who truly and genuinely love God and people who wholeheartedly believe gay marriage to be wrong and this decision a further step in the destruction of our country.  There are other people in my life who I love dearly and who truly and genuinely love God and people who celebrate this day as a day of freedom and equality that they believe is also being celebrated in heaven.  I feel somewhat torn in the middle.

Above all, I believe that God is love.  I believe that God created us as relational beings and that that is part of what motivates us to seek lifelong bonds with other people.  It is true, as Justice Kennedy said in the majority opinion, that “marriage has transformed strangers into relatives, binding families and societies together.”  This is true, marriage does that.  But I don’t think marriage is the only thing that binds families and societies together, or even that it is the best thing to do that.  I think the church, headed and held together by God, is the ultimate way to transform strangers into relatives.  I think the church, as God intended it, was meant to be the center of relationships that turned into families.  I think this is what Jesus meant in Matthew 22:30 when He said, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage.”  Not that marriage is unimportant but that we are all family and that our unity will be so complete that we won’t have need or desire for more intimate relationships.

Trouble is, we have no place to go to experience this kind of unity here on earth.  Even our churches have moved away from what God designed them to be.  Our churches aren’t families, where we can be real and honest and open with each other.  They have become just another meeting on our calendars, another thing to check off our to do list. We go, we sit down (facing the front, not even looking at each other), we listen to what someone else has to say (never sharing our own thoughts/feelings/struggles/joys/questions) and then we go home.  This seems so far from the description of Acts 2, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”  We are all falling so, so short of this.

So on to the marriage issue. Truth is, all marriage falls short of what God intended it to be.  Paul talks about marriage as a picture of Christ and the church but what an imperfect picture it is!  How can we even talk about a biblical definition of marriage when the Bible is full of terrible, sinful examples of marriage. People marry for political reasons, for economic reasons, for physical reasons.  In the not too distant past (and still in some places) it was not uncommon for parents to choose their child’s spouse, for men to have more than one wife, for very young girls to be given as brides to much older men.  Marriage between first cousins was legal in all states prior to the Civil War and it is still legal in half the states while interracial marriage wasn’t legal in the United States until 1967!  As far as legalities go, the definition of marriage is not a static thing.

I guess, for me, that’s the crux of the whole issue.  Why do we allow the state to even make these decisions?  One of the plaintiffs in this most recent case was basically suing for the right to have his name on his husband’s death certificate.  He had lived with and loved this man for 20+ years and all he wanted was his name on a piece of paper acknowledging that.  Who does that hurt? No one. What does that take away from me?  Nothing.

I feel so twisted up about all of this and I’m guessing it’s something I’ll be wrestling with for a long time. But, honestly, today feels like a good thing.  So for now I think I’ll celebrate.

I am a marathoner

I ran a marathon yesterday.  No big deal. IMG_0022

It was hard, I’m not going to lie.  And it didn’t go quite how I’d expected.  But I’m happy with my experience and I’m glad I did it.

I really thought I could finish in 5 hours.  My training had gone really well and I used a bunch of different online calculators to see what they projected my finish time would be using current training times.  Depending on what times I entered, the projected times were around 5:10 or so.  I thought I could push it a bit and hit 5 hours.

I told people I was hoping to finish in 5:30 or sometimes I just didn’t even talk about finish times but in my heart I was hoping for 5 hours.  I am not disappointed with my time, not really.  It took a full hour longer than I wanted it to but I don’t think I could have done anything to change that, at least not yesterday.  And I have some ideas about how things are for the next marathon, if I decide to do another one.

Yesterday was amazing and the first half was incredible.  I felt fast and strong and I enjoyed it so much.  The second half was much harder. I think I knew it would be harder, I just didn’t know how much.  This race included a half marathon and the half marathoners split off the course at about mile 11.  That split was incredibly hard.  Knowing that they were almost done and that I still had so far to go was really difficult.  And then the marathon course entered a really boring and lonely section so that made it doubly difficult.

I think I just have to prepare more for the mentally challenging middle section next time. Miles 10-20 were so hard and I really think that was more about my mind than about my body.   I have other thoughts and other places I think I can improve but for today, I’m a marathoner.  It was awesome in so many ways.  I did it!  And that’s enough.

On being a slow runner and approaching race day.

In about 16 days I will participate in my first marathon.  This running a marathon thing seemed like an awesome idea when I signed up, back in December.  It’s seemed like an awesome idea while I’ve been training; I have genuinely enjoyed the training runs, especially the long ones.  I love to be out, by myself, doing something that tests my limits.  I love the extended amount of thinking time, I love listening to interesting podcasts, I love telling people I just ran 20 miles (or whatever).

Now, though, I’m thinking a lot about race day.  Perhaps this is what they refer to as the taper crazies.  I’m starting to feel nervous and I’m starting to doubt a little.  I mean, it’s one thing to run 20 miles by yourself where no one can see you.  It’s a totally different thing to do it when there will be other people around.

Yesterday I got a text from a family member saying that their dental hygienist is running the same marathon that I am and she wants to know what time I’m shooting for.  I have two answers for that question.  The first answer is: this is my first marathon, my goal is really just to finish.  And that is true, it really is.  But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have an idea of where I’d like to finish.  So, I texted back and said my big goal was just finishing but that I was hoping to finish around 5:30.  The response text was: oh, she’s shooting for 3:50.

I hate stuff like that.  Yes, I am a slow runner.  I probably always will be.  I don’t even care that much (usually).  But sometimes I feel a little judged about it.  This is especially true when talking to non-runners.  I don’t know why but it seems like every non-runner I talk to things all marathoners finish like Desi Linden.  Truth is, running a marathon is hard.  Not everyone can do it in under 3 hours!

So, here’s the thing.  I’m going to run a marathon.  I will take walk breaks from time to time.  It will take me more than 5 hours.  If it’s a bad day, it could take 6 hours. But I will finish.  And it will be awesome.

I’ll probably keep repeating the last two sentences to myself.  So I can remember.

On options and girls vs boys.

I took my children shopping today. We had to pick up a few groceries, buy presents for a couple of my daughter’s friends who have upcoming birthdays and buy shoes/new socks for track (which starts next week).  We also looked for outfits for the kids to wear for Easter.

When I was a kid iit seems like we always got new Easter clothes.  I loved debuting my new outfit on that Sunday.  In fact, I’m pretty sure my feelings about my new clothes and the Cadbury Creme Eggs I usually got tended to overshadow my feelings about our risen Savior.  Sorry, Jesus, my focus is much better now.  Usually.

It’s a lot easier to be excited about new Easter clothes when you are a little girl, in my opinion.  We went to a couple of different stores.  Helen found her new dress in the first store (after trying on 10 different dresses.  I’m not exaggerating).   All the dresses in the girl’s section were beautiful.  In fact, my only complaint might be that several of the styles were too grown up.  I would totally have worn some of the dresses from the girl’s department if they were available in my size.  But I guess grown women don’t wear dresses because the first store had nothing for women.

And they really had nothing for boys either.  At that store the dressiest boy clothing was a polo shirt, which is nice, sure, but not exactly what we were looking for.  Patrick had decided last night that he wanted a suit for Easter Sunday. I’m pretty sure this is because Chris bought a new suit this winter so Patrick was pretty sure he needed one too.  He ended up with slacks and a shirt/tie/vest combo.  Pretty cute and he’s handsome as can be but it’s basically the same set up he had for Christmas and the Easter before that and every other time a dressier outfit seems necessary.  Because there are no other options for little boys.

Who knows?  Maybe this is because we live in such a rural area.  Maybe if we’d gone to a larger city for our shopping we wouldn’t have had this problem.  But I don’t think so because I’ve seen the options other places too.  So my husband and I tease our daughter about being a clothes horse and always wanting to try on several outfits before she makes a decision but maybe it’s because she has options!  Patrick really doesn’t have options so of course he doesn’t try on very many things.  And don’t even get me started on options for women…because there are none.  I didn’t end up buying anything.

Today’s Run: 4 miles on the treadmill.  I woke up this morning to 25+ mph winds and so I wimped out.  Good thing I have a treadmill (I guess.  Maybe it’s a bad thing because I would have been forced to tough it out without!)

On Early Mornings and Sacrifice

It’s spring break week here which means a glorious week off with my kids.  We have some exciting plans (Patrick turns 6 this week and we’ll have a bunch of kids running around for a superhero birthday party on Thursday), we have some boring plans (deep cleaning rooms, taking inventory of summer clothes, other chores) and we have some things we are anticipating (hopefully a new baby cousin will be born in the next week or so…we’re very excited).  Spring break is a nice time to relax and recharge for the final push of the school year.

This morning I wanted to get in an easy three mile run.  This is a distance that I often do at the school track when the kids are home.  If I do that they can play on the playground for a bit while I’m running and everyone is happening.  But I set my alarm last night because I knew the forecast called for rain and the track/playground option doesn’t work so well when it’s raining.  I woke up at 5:30 and, sure enough, it was raining…and not just a little sprinkle either.

Here’s where the going gets tough for me.  I fully admit that I’m spoiled in my running life.  My schedule usually allows me to run after dropping the kids off at school which means I rarely have to force myself out of bed in the dark early morning hours.  I have it easy in my running life.  But sometimes we need to make sacrifices for the things that are important to us and running is important to me.  So I laid in my bed, watching the minutes go by, for 15 minutes or so.  I had a little fight with myself about how maybe the rain would stop and we could do the track/playground thing later.  Or I could probably force myself to do 3 miles on the treadmill.  Because it’s so dark outside and my bed is so nice.  But after awhile I decided I was being silly, I was never going to get back to sleep anyway so I needed to just get up and get going.

So I did.  And it was wonderful.  It was dark, sure, but not as dark as I had convinced myself it was.  And I had my reflective vest on so I could be seen.  It was raining, sure, but there is something so lovely about running in the rain.  That early in the morning the world is so quiet and you run past houses where the lights are just blinking on and it’s like you’re the only person awake.

When I got home my husband was nearly ready to go to work, my kids were up and settled with some morning plans and the Keurig was ready for me to press go.  It was a nearly perfect start to the day.  I think I’ll do it again tomorrow.

Today’s run: 3 miles plus 10 strides, town loop with cemetery hill

Yesterday my sister reminded me of my 40 before 40 list.  It looks like I’ve been slacking on accomplishing anything there but I really haven’t.  So I’ll update some things there later today.  Also, 2 years is a long time so she probably needs to give me a break.  I’ll get there.  Or I won’t…it’s just a silly list.  (Love you, Joni)

Stuck?

I don’t write here very often.  I always mean to but then, you know, life gets in the way.  More accurately, I get in the way, because the fact that I don’t write here often really has to do with my priorities.  And I haven’t been making this a priority.

My son is sick today so I’m at home when I should be doing other things.  In fact, I’ve been having a little pity party because his sickness means that my husband and I won’t be going out tonight, our 13th anniversary.  It’s life and it’s small in the scheme of things, it’s just a disappointment.

Anyway, sitting here on the couch enjoying my pity party I decided to  read through my previous posts on this blog.  My first post on this blog was in March 2013.  It has been two years since that first post and here’s the truth: I think I’m stuck.  Several times I’ve written about the tension between wanting to stay home with my kids and wanting something more.  I talked about feeling like I was on the cusp of something new, of feeling like it might be time to venture in to the workforce. I talked about a job I was offered this fall and worked through some of the reasons I ultimately decided not to take it.  I’ve been working around/through these issues for a long time.  And I still feel no resolution.

I have applied for yet another job.  This job is probably a better fit, in some ways, than the job I was offered last fall.  I was way over-qualified for that job and, in all likelihood, I would have been bored.  This job I’m actually somewhat under-qualified for.  The job would be a stretch and I’m sure I wouldn’t be bored.  I have a first interview for this job a week from Monday.

So I’ve had a bit of a one track mind since I got the call for the interview.  I alternate between feeling very excited about the job possibility, confident that we could make work and that it would be a positive for our family and feeling like I don’t even want to go to work.  I think this is probably natural, the uncertainty/excitement mix.  But I also think I’m feeling and thinking the exact things I did last fall…and even before that.

Millions of women work outside the home.   They successfully raise children and their children are not ruined by the fact that their mothers go to work everyday.  In fact, I think I was 10 when my mom went to work and it was fine.  I don’t remember feeling bad about it at all.  I’m sure the transition period would require some adjustment but I think we’d all survive.  In fact, I know we would.

I feel like it’s time to get unstuck.  I feel like it’s time to stop stressing out about all the what ifs and questions and just make a decision.  I need to stop beating myself up over all this stuff.  Why is that so hard to do?