Saturday, March 06, 2010


One of the things I do regularly at home is ride my exercise bike. I used to walk first thing in the morning, the coolest time of the day and the time when the fewest people are out to observe my odd behavior (it's a bit strange to walk for exercise in a country where most people walk wherever they go out of necessity), but when I got the bike I was able to switch to exercising after school, which is a much better time for me than 5:30 AM. For the first couple of weeks after the earthquake I didn't exercise at all, and I find that I deal much better with stress (even ordinary everyday stress) when I'm active. So I started walking with a friend three times a week, and now I am walking every week day unless it's raining.

The town I'm in has a beautiful walking trail (though it looks very different this time of year from when I use it in the summer, when it's lined with huge baskets of flowers) and it's a pure pleasure to walk here, except for the cold. I bundle myself up in many many layers of clothing before heading out each day. (I wrote a post here about some of the things I really enjoy in the US, and one of the things was exercising here.)

Every time I exercise I think of my friend Tara and her post about the first time she ran after the earthquake. She wrote:

The path we run looks very different now. Where there used to be buildings there are giant piles of cement spilling into the street. Where there used to be an open space to stretch and get away from the intensely populated area of Tabarre, there are now hundreds of people living in their cars, trucks, and along the side of the road. As we ran another missionary drove by and rolled his window down and said, "Doing something normal again, God Bless you!"

We cannot make this go away, we cannot wish Haiti back to her pre January 12 state. We cannot make any of this "normal." We can only keep running the race. By God's grace and provision we've been able to do that so far.

My race has taken me a long way away from Haiti for the moment, but I feel the same as Tara. We have to keep going, one foot in front of the other. Part of doing that is exercising, wearing myself out so that I'll be healthier, sleep better, and deal better with stress. Sometimes I look around me and think, How did this happen? What am I doing here? But I remember what Tara said: "We cannot make any of this 'normal.' We can only keep running the race."

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