It’s all relative

Gary and I decided at the last minute to spend Father’s Day in Natchez this weekend. Our A/C unit at home has gone out, and has to be replaced inside & out. And, the kicker is, they can’t get to it until next Wednesday or so. 😦 If you’re south of I-20, you know – it’s hot. Summer has arrived in all its glory. So, after spending a few hot days & nights at home, we decided we would come to Natchez and see how cold we could get our hotel room. Turns out, pretty cold. I think I brushed icicles out of my eyes when I woke up this morning.

I’ve written about Natchez often, as we come here once a month for business and it’s one of my favorite places to run. Usually, though, we come for one night, get up to run, have breakfast at the incomparable Natchez Coffee Company, and head out for a day’s work. This time we had a whole day to be lazy and explore.

We started with an early morning run. It was my first run with Gary since his injury, so even though it was a little tough for him, I smiled the entire time. Love running with my man. So thankful he’s able to get back to it. I’m humbled by God’s mercy.

It was hot and muggy, even at 5:45 am. We ran uptown to the Basilica first, passing a bar which was apparently just closing as its somewhat worse for drink patrons stumbled into the street. Note the time I said. Do bars really stay open all night? Do people really drink all night and into the morning? That’s a life choice that confuses and saddens me.

We got to the Basilica just as the bells chimed six o’clock. Is there anything more majestic than an early morning run to a beautiful, old church and hearing the church bells ring? After the six chimes, the bell was silent for a minute, then started ringing again. I counted 27 times. Not sure what that meant. I took it as a celebration of life and the ability to run on a hot, muggy June morning in Natchez, MS.

We rounded the church, then headed back to the river. West along the riverbank to one of my favorite running spots in the world, the Natchez City Cemetery. We got there and Gary decided to walk a little, I headed back to Jewish Hill so I could overlook the river for a moment, then to the back to the Bishop’s plot. Didn’t make it all the way back there, but wound back through and headed back to the river. I caught up with Gary and we finished strong overlooking the mighty Mississippi. A quick shower, then breakfast at Natchez Coffee Company where we had the luxury of lingering over our coffee, then a nice long nap in our igloo of a hotel room. Happy Father’s Day, indeed.

Feeling fat, sassy, and blessed this fine Sunday evening as I watch the sun go down over the river from the balcony of my room. Thankful for so many things, not the least of which is the man God chose to be the father of my children. Thankful that God gave me an earthly father who showed me what it was like to be loved by God. Miss him, but so thankful that he’s getting his heavenly reward for a job well done here. Thankful for my precious father-in-law, for the example he set for my man, and for the Godly walk he exhibits.

I’m even thankful for my slow pace of a run this morning. I could obsess about the fact that my pace has dropped a full minute (in the wrong direction) in the last few weeks. I could bemoan the fact that running is hurting a little more now than it did just a few short weeks ago. I could weep and wail and gnash my teeth because it seems like my running is always two steps forward and five steps back. I know lots of runners who do obsess about those things. Most of them have enviable race times, and I could be jealous of them. Ok, sometimes I am. But, mostly, I’m grateful for the ability to put my feet on the ground and run. I know lots of people who would gladly exchange places with me, who would take my abilities, as meager as they sometimes seem, and, well, run with them. This morning’s run reminded me that pace is always relative. What seems a slow pace this week may seem a completely unattainable pace after an injury. So, I’m thankful for what it was. And, for whatever it will be tomorrow.

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Now, I’m going to go find some sweatpants, socks and blankets, and head back into the Arctic.

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