Several days ago I wrote about the 30 Days of Muchness Challenge.
Today is Day One.
I went running.
I didn't make it very far. I thought I was going to die at about half a mile. And then the dog needed to poop. And then he had to drag me across the road every time another dog barked at him. Finally, at one mile, I couldn't fight him anymore. I had to turn around and come home. (Note to self. Running works best alone.)
But I went. For the first time in a long time. And it hurt sooo good.
I have a little cousin, J, who recently turned 8. She has two sisters, and she is only one of many children back home that are the very center of my world. They were my reason for getting up, for smiling, for trying to make myself better every day. Those kids watched me so closely, learning, remembering, molding themselves in the image they saw in me. (One of the girls actually refused to wear her purple flower girl dress for her aunt's wedding because "her Nee-uh doesn't weaw dwesses".) I couldn't bare the thought of doing anything that would disappoint, hurt, or mislead those innocent souls that were looking up to me like that.
Christmas of 2005. I was shopping with my sister, two counties away from home. My mom called to let us know she was taking my Gramma to get J. She had been visiting her dad. She had really bad problems with her kidneys, which made her prone to frequent accidents. She had one of these accidents during her visit. And he beat the shit out of her. She was covered in bruises to the point that it hurt her to have a blanket over her. She was 2. I broke down in the middle of that huge mall full of Christmas shoppers.
A few months later, around April 2006, she was sent to Vanderbilt for surgery. Not only had he beaten her, he had been molesting her for quite some time. She was going in to have her kidneys checked again and to have her girl parts reconstructed. Yes. You read that right. She had her entire female reproductive section of her tiny little two year old body reconstructed because of the damage.
When she went into surgery, I was so overwhelmed with more emotions than I even knew existed that I couldn't function. I didn't know how to process what was happening to her. I didn't know how to process what I was feeling. I certainly didn't know how to keep from exploding and finding the man that caused this problem and ridding this world of one more piece of shit. So I prayed.
I prayed to God, begging Him to take her pain away, to let me carry her pain so that she didn't have to. I slipped on a pair of worn out New Balance running shoes, and I ran. And I cried. And I prayed. And I begged. And I kept running.
I ran so hard that I couldn't breathe, but I was crying too hard to even notice. I ran so hard that I fell down. I begged to carry her pain, and I pushed myself back up and ran some more. I didn't know what else to do. Nothing else would ease my own pain enough. So I kept running.
I think I ran about 10 miles that night. In the dark. With a busted mouth and a bruised up body from all those falls. But it was nothing compared to the bruised and beaten heart I was carrying. My pain increased with every stride. I thought I might die that night. Seriously. But it was the best release of stress, anger, pain, tears, everything that I have ever felt. It hurt so good to feel like I really was carrying that little girl's pain for her that night.
I thought of her this morning when I pulled on my running shoes and my Team Brake shirt. I thought of that night when my feet hit the pavement. I thought of how desperately I begged God to let me bare her pain. I thought of how desperately I beg God to just let me get through another day of my own pain.
I really need to run more often.