I’ve been doing some serious walking as part of a Weight Watchers program, trying to get in my 10,000 steps a day but usually happy if I hit the 7500 mark. Anyone who knows me realizes that this is a true commitment because I am no athlete. Never have been and never intend to be. The fact is that I do not enjoy physical exertion. In fact I have many humorous stories about my attempts at sports. Most of them involve equipment malfunctions of which I was unaware until I practically collapsed. I cannot imagine the “runner’s high”. My favorite endorphin rush comes with good food.
Today, however, I took a second walk because I had several things on my mind and in my heart that needed to be sorted out, considered under a big blue sky, stretched out across the cotton fields that wait for harvesting. I reversed my usual walking course, hoping for a fresh perspective. I walked into the sun at first, quickly shedding my sweatshirt, finding myself squinting even with sunglasses. I surprised the various dogs and horses that are used to my appearance from the opposite direction. And I wasn’t far from home before the ideas that had been so sluggish while sitting at home began to bubble to the surface.
Halfway around my walking course I started speeding up. I started using my arms to propel myself a little faster, clenching and unclenching my fists as I thought my thoughts and wondered my wonderings. The several tasks that had weighed me down earlier at home now seemed to be pushing me forward. I found myself hurrying to get back, aware of a new momentum that was more than physical. I guess I felt “impelled”. It’s the first time I have ever associated this feeling with physical exercise.
We Sisters of Charity have a community motto (from 2 Corinthians 5:14): “The love of Christ impels us.” I hope that my ministry is always impelled by that love but the reality is that it’s easy to just slog along. So maybe this memory will rise up to remind me of what it feels like to be impelled- physically and mentally as well as spiritually. And maybe this is my version of a “runner’s high”.