November 20th, 2009
As quickly as the first year of Sadiedom passed, the second year fell into full swing. The changes seemed to accelerate . . . something I thought impossible. One of the most enjoyable changes had less to do with Sadie’s age and more to do with the acquisition of a new toy . . . a toy for me. Some friends in our neighborhood had a job change and were in the process of moving out of state. In their packing process, they needed to get rid of a few items that were no longer of use to them. In the mix was a very nice jogging stroller. Needless to say, I jumped on the opportunity.
Now if you’re not well-versed in items related to babies and small children, then you might make the mistake of thinking that a jogging stroller is somewhat like a regular stroller. They are cousins in the sense that they both have wheels and allow you to cart munchkins from point A to point B. However, the jogging stroller seems to emerge from the professional biking family. Two large back wheels with actual bicycle-like tires offset a single front wheel. When you position yourself behind the beauty of this contraption, you begin to realize that the stroller almost pushes itself. Made to move and maintain momentum, the jogging stroller was just the addition I needed to take the adventure of Sadie to the next level. I became like a western rickshaw puller . . . or pusher in this case. See the resemblance?
The day came when we decided to try it out . . . notice I said “we.” That’s right, my lovely wife, Laura, set out in the neighborhood with Sadie and me. Now I have to tell you, this was a dream come true. It may seem silly or trite to you, but running with my whole family was nothing less than a picturesque moment of bliss. Laura and I occasionally run together, but usually one of us has to stay back and watch Sadie. This time, we could all set out as a family.
Sadie loved it! The wind blowing in her face. The passing sights and sounds. The constant motion. The ability to look up through the little plastic window on the stroller cover and see Daddy huffing away. Strapped in without a care in the world, she was able to see everything that Daddy could see.
For the rest of that summer and into the fall, Sadie went “running” with Daddy almost every time he ran. Sometimes Mommy would come along and sometimes she wouldn’t. I eventually built up to my normal run pushing the stroller . . . three miles, three times a week.
One day while running near dusk in a secluded neighborhood near ours, we passed several deer feeding and watching the no doubt curious sight of this crazy human pushing this equally crazy-looking smaller human. I tried to point them out to Sadie, but she was still just a little too small to take interest in them. Nevertheless, events like this made our runs into therapeutic moments for both of us. As the teething battle continued and another four or five teeth, like a dental armada, were laying siege to her little delicate gums, the run was sometimes just the medicine she needed to soothe and settle . . . which made us all feel better.
Eventually, the weather began to morph into cooler days. I put a hooded jacket on my little running buddy and wrapped her in a blanket to keep the cold out. All bundled up and strapped in, all she was lacking was hot chocolate and marshmallows to complete the experience. Note: at this point, hot chocolate doesn’t do real well in sippy cups. At one point, she was so comfy and cozy under the layers that she dozed right off to sleep. As the now familiar scenery of her father’s running course zoomed past (I use the term “zoom” loosely . . . I’m no sprinter), she slumbered away in total serenity and security. She slept so soundly that when we arrived back at the house, she didn’t want to wake up. I picked up her stroller and rolled her into the living room so she could finish out her nap.
I mourned the fact that eventually it became too cold to take Sadie Bell out on the road. I love running in cold weather; she’s not quite ready. Warm weather will come again and then we will continue our running adventures together.
It all reminds me of this run I’m on with my Father. He straps me into a place where I stay in His sight. Sure, I have to move in this race . . . but in all honesty, my Father does so much more of the work than I do. Scripture says that ” . . . in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” (Acts 17:28). Notice that we still move, but we move “in Him.” Like my own little offspring, the heavenly Father wants to take us on His masterfully-planned journey.
Sadie moves, but under my power. Sadie sees the sights, but through my vantage point. And here’s the real kicker: no matter how much Sadie may enjoy the experience, it simply cannot compare with the joy I experience from having her with me out on the road. Just imagine the fact that the Father delights in having you strapped into His will as you experience the ride together.
In the end, it’s nice to know that if I run out of juice, God’s legs are plenty strong to keep us going. Yeah, now that’s what I call resting in God . . . we don’t stop moving and we don’t cease to put forth the effort; we simply rest in the truth that His efforts are what put us in this race and His efforts will win it in the end. Happy running!