I am a runner. That always makes me smile when I say those four words. Yet, I like to call myself that.
Six years ago on my journey of doctor visits to find relief from chronic headaches I didn’t find relief for the headaches, but was diagnosed with Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD). This is a big long name that means somethings wrong is with my autoimmune system, not enough to give it a name anyone has ever heard of but enough to start treatment and a journey to stay healthy. The best way I can describe the condition is it’s like the light switch of my immune system was turned on to fight something, which is exactly it’s job, but is has never turned off. Which means, even when I don’t have a cold or some other bug for the immune system to fight, it is up and fighting against my healthy cells and organs. It is such a surprise when you are at the doctor for one thing and they tell you something new. That was an unexpected diagnosis. Now anyone with a medical background that may be reading this and is cringing at my description of this disease, please forgive me, I must dumb it down for myself. It is one of my coping skills.
I was caught off guard by the diagnosis. What did that mean? What had I done to myself that caused this? Hey God, really? All I was asking for is a cure for headaches and I get this? No answers just more questions. Doctors couldn’t attribute my headaches to the UCTD either so that added to my discouragement. I was prescribed medication but more than that, I was given direction for some lifestyle changes. Change the diet, reduce stress, rest, etc. I was also told to exercise more. I exercised two days a week, and broke into a sweat sometimes. Wasn’t that enough? What did more really mean? I did not want to do more but it was worth a shot to get some relief from the headaches. Which brings me to calling myself a runner.
Well, more than that, it brings me to tell you about my friends who said they’d exercise with me. “It will be good for all of us” they said. What started out as walking five days a week turned into, let’s do a 5k. “I can’t run a 5K!” Oh but we did and then some.
This story is really more about my friends than about me calling myself a runner. It’s about living life with a group of people that lift you up when you need it, about those friends you call family and not only the ones who run with me. Those friends who know me at my worst and still love me. It’s a lot like God. He uses people to show His love to us; how we show God’s love by helping others. Despite our failures He loves us anyway and calls us to Himself. How will anyone know God if we don’t show His love? Rm 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
That’s part of the lesson God has given me when my health didn’t live up to my expectations. Life isn’t to live alone. What I wanted to keep to myself was easier to bear when my friends came along with me.
Ecc 4: 9-10 Two are better than one because they have a return for their labor; for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.