I’m not a “thing” person. There aren’t many things in my home that I feel I would be completely devastated without. As a matter of fact, holidays where we acquire more things give me serious anxiety. Birthdays, Christmas (which is completely celebrated in the wrong way in my opinion but that’s for another post) and it seems like every holiday that exists pushes us to believe we need more things. My husband and I were commenting the other day about how we can go to the store at any time of year and there are little trinkets for our children to be tempted with….valentines gifts, St. Patrick’s Day gifts, Easter gifts, 4th of July gifts, Halloween gifts, Thanksgiving, Christmas and it starts all over again. I’m not a fan of children being raised in a world where each holiday means they deserve a gift.
That being said, I think a thoughtful gift at the right time has an incredible power to make someone feel special and less lonely. Don’t think I’m the Grinch, I love giving gifts and receiving them is fun too I just think we may have gone a little overboard in my beloved America. Okay maybe a lot overboard….maybe like overboard and drowning in all of the stuff we think we need. Let it be known that I am fully aware a huge part of my issue with gifts stems from the fact that in my marriage we both admittedly have some OCD tendencies. We like to live simply (if you ask my husband about computers be ready for ALL the reasons he hates them 😉 ) and have our home organized and we both know we can be a bit unrealistic about it. So it’s work for me to make sure I’m not insensitive when we receive gifts, especially for my children. If we don’t use something we get rid of it. I literally go to Goodwill at least twice a month with donations. This doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate things, but if we aren’t using them anymore and someone else could benefit from them, out they go!
Upon hearing this it may shock you what I had a VERY hard time getting rid of the other day when I was cleaning out our family’s shoe closet. Everything in my practical mind told me to get rid of them, but I won’t lie it made my heart a bit sad to imagine my life without them. Brace yourself for these beautiful babies….
There they are…my first pair of running shoes. I bought them after I had been running for awhile and decided this part of my life was here to stay. They have taken me on trail runs, pavement, treadmills, and for the past few years have been retired to mowing the grass.
These are the shoes that I took to the running store and the man showed me how to look at the tread on the bottom to see how I use my feet when I run. They are the shoes that took me on my first 5K through a subdivision with a stranger who has become a cherished friend . These are the shoes that ran with me through anxiety, 2 pregnancies, my husband’s deployment to Africa, the stress of family illnesses and separations and life as a working mama. I remember the sadness I felt when I desperately needed a new pair. These shoes were the beginning of something for me that I never want to forget.
3 pairs of shoes and 1000+ miles later what these shoes began has led to the completion of many 5K races, 5 milers, a half marathon and meeting some amazing people. People who are so wonderful that together we plan our own 5K race each year to benefit St. Jude. I’ve used running to help cope with migraines, anxiety, sadness and stress. I’ve used it to appreciate God’s creation and what the body can do and to celebrate. Not too long ago when I found out I was pregnant with my son I woke up early and ran 5 miles, I’ll never forget how much joy and hope I felt on that run. I feel like if these shoes could talk and they noticed I was even considering pitching them, they would smack me across the face and say “SERIOUSLY?! Jami do you remember what we’ve been though?!” That’s when I decided I had to keep a piece of them.
Yes, I felt this picture deserved to be black and white.
I took my shoes, put them in the bag to be donated and went to knotting a piece of my laces together on a key ring. I realize at this point some of you might think I’m a tad bit crazy keeping old, dirty shoelaces, but
1. I don’t care
2. I have never really had a problem with things that were old and/or dirty. (as long as they are where they belong in my house lol)
So, I’ve acquired a new keychain that makes me smile every time I look at it and a new appreciation for things. Never underestimate the importance of a “thing” to the person it belongs to. I’m forever grateful for the ability to run and to use it for encouraging others. For me it’s strengthened my faith, my ability to persevere and given me more energy to complete each day with a purpose. It’s possible that things aren’t so bad after all.
Thank you Lord Jesus for the ability to run. May I never take this temple for granted.