As we approach Thanksgiving in the US, I can't help but reflect on all of the things that I'm grateful for. From family, to health, to a stable career, I have been and continue to be abundantly blessed. This year has truly been a great year. But, as I think of all of the "big" blessings, I also remember those things that we often take for granted. For me, that small thing is the ability to run. Though it may seem small to others, I count it as a huge blessing that I'm grateful for.
Many of you have heard me rant about how I hate running. Well the truth is, I've hated it because it would always end in pain and sometimes tears for me. You see, I was lucky enough to inherit my dad's flat feet. This "abnormality" leads to extreme pain if I engage in any type of consistent jumping or movement. It also causes me to have shin splints, or extreme inflammation and pain along my shin, while running. If you've never experience either of the two, just equate it to labor pains...except maybe not as bad. You get the picture. Every time I'd try to run, I'd have to stop abruptly due to pain and I would find myself limping to find a place to sit until it subsided. After years of dealing with it, I became discouraged, which led me to hate running. Eventually, I just stopped trying. There were many days when I would cry out to God for the simple ability to run. Its something that so many people take for granted, yet here I was with the desire to run, but couldn't.
Well recently, I had enough of being victim to a physical impediment and decided that I'd conquer it one way or another. My first inclination was to see a podiatrist. However, after researching nearby physicians, I concluded that most would try to convince me to get corrective surgery or to purchase expensive insoles that don't help-- been there, done that. My next option was to do what most folks do... I googled. I stumbled across some bloggers who suffered from the same issues that I did, but ultimately found relief with the right running shoes. I decided to take a chance and purchase one of the recommended pair.
I tracked the Amazon package like a hound until my shoes finally came in. I decided to test them out by going running with my husband that same day. To my disappointment, I still suffered from extreme shin splints, but I was able to run much further that I ever had before. Not to mention the fact that my feet didn't hurt. This was progress! Now having solved half of the issues, I decided to take the recommendation of some runners and purchase compression sleeves for my shins to help with the pain. Again, I waited for the package to arrive like a kid on Christmas. When it finally arrived, I was even more excited to test them out with my shoes.
Out we went. We walked about a quarter of a mile and then began our running stretch. I ran...and kept going....and going. With only two brief stops for slight pain, I ran roughly 1.5 miles! Talk about elated. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Just the day before, I wouldn't have survived even a quarter of mile and now, I was running over a mile. From that day forward, I committed myself to keeping it up. I am forever grateful for the ability to run and will never take it for granted. Since then, I've been running at minimum of 1 mile several times a week with plans of running longer, while improving my time.
What may seem like a small feat with an "easy" fix is a testimony for me. It reminds me of the many people in the Bible who were healed after being afflicted for so long. When those people were healed, they made it a point to share their testimony with others and the fact that Jesus did it. I feel the same way! The healing may be different, but the gratitude and responsibility is the same. Thank God that I didn't have to lose my legs or be paralyzed to be thankful for the ability to walk and run.
So, this Thanksgiving, truly think about the seemingly small blessings that you are grateful for. Nothing is too small to teach a lesson in gratitude and thankfulness.