lessons learned: gratitude, grace, and chicken poo

Recently, I read about doing a running streak in Runner’s World – the point is to run every day from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July (I’m in America).  I used to participate in 5Ks for fun – I’m not a runner but I liked the challenge for my body. 

I was then diagnosed with a back issue and have had tremendous pain for years. Pain that I’ve smiled through, worked through, presented through and preached through. But also pain that I’ve cried through, prayed through and suffered silently through.

Yesterday, I decided I’d come home after work and get on the treadmill (rainy day here) and run at least one mile. 

Because of my back, I may not be able to run every day on my personal streak, but it’s my challenge to myself to at least try something every other day. 

That one mile was fabulous! 

As I ran, I was thinking about all the challenges I’ve overcome or left behind in my life – challenges that have made me stronger.  Strong enough to take on the next path and strong enough to run one mile again and again and again. What a thrill it was to finish that mile then walk another two.  Great training for my other challenge of taking a 10 mile hike in the mountains where I live.

When I reflect on the times that I’ve struggled with negotiating life, I realize that the negative self-talk kept niggling its way in to remind me that I’m not strong enough to make it through when in reality, that’s simply  not true.  I’ve survived cancer, divorce, sexual assault, dreams unfulfilled, etc. etc.

And on the daily, each of us is working to survive sitting with our feelings, navigating a balanced life, and wading through a pandemic.  Those are things that make us stronger, and those are things that also teach us how to be gentle with ourselves.

Anyone who is barely hanging on today, anyone who hears that negative self-talk, anyone who is depressed or anxious or simply just tired of this new state of being due to COVID, my heart and thoughts are with you.  You can do this.  Even if you simply find the strength to climb out of bed  (or back into it) and get through one more day, that is enough.  That truly is enough.

_______

Gracious – I started off this morning with that inspirational post and just ended my day by falling into a mudpit outside the chicken coop. If you’ve never had chickens, here’s the deal: 

Chickens poop wherever they go.

I go to close chicken coop, get snagged on part of the hardware cloth and hit the mud outside the coop (we’re on day 2 of hard rain) and fall flat on my back in the mud. 

What did I do?  Said a few choice words to the chickens then proceeded to laugh.

Isn’t this the way life is?  Start out the day on an amazingly positive note, filled with gratitude and grace, and end up the day on my back in a pile of chicken poo and mud.  The Creator is somewhere up there laughing I’m sure!

So there you have it, tribe.  This journey is beautiful and inspiring but also dirty and messy.  And here we are.  Supporting each other through it all, one day at a time or even one blog post at a time.  It gets us through, it warms our hearts, it fills our spirits. 

Each day, we are learning how to balance the brilliant and beautiful with the “chicken shit” of the world. If that’s not a life lesson and grace, I don’t know what is!

Take care-Cameron

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