I love pondering all the life lessons/reminders we can gain from running. Seven months ago I went from strictly flat running terrain to very hilly running terrain. It’s been a big adjustment, both mentally and physically. In NE North Carolina, I thought I was a fairly strong runner, but then I was introduced to hills last June when our family moved to Georgia. In so many ways, I had to learn to run again.
Yesterday, I finally made it over to the Chickamauga Battlefield to run around the roads in this famous Civil War National Military Park. I was pleasantly surprised that, unlike the roads near my house, the roads in the park were mostly flat. I was amazed at how much easier my run was on this level terrain. I was able to run faster, farther, and with less effort than I had in a long time.
As I ran along, I thought about how life takes us on the same journey. When we experience seasons of hills and challenges it makes us that much more aware when level ground returns. We appreciate and embrace the smooth road because we know, firsthand, what difficult roads look like and feel like.
I love this about life and running. I love that the pain we sometimes experience and the challenges we endure make us truly grateful for seasons of peace and ease.
Yesterday, I found it interesting that I was having all of these thoughts about redeemed pain and suffering while running past cannons and monuments memorializing the Battle of Chickamauga. This site marks the largest Civil War battle fought in Georgia back in 1863. With 34,000 lives lost, it was the second bloodiest engagement during the war, second only to The Battle of Gettysburg where 51,000 people lost their lives in the fight.
The Battle of Chickamauga was brutal and it took the lives of so many. I can’t even wrap my brain around what it must have been like. Yet today, 151 years later, here I was enjoying a peaceful, easy run on the same ground. Today, that same ground is now a beautiful monument where people enjoy riding bikes, running, walking, and horseback riding. Today, families have picnics and deer graze peacefully near streams of cool water.
I don’t think this cycle of beauty, and this cycle of gratitude being born from pain and suffering will ever lose its wonder to me. At least, I hope it never does.