My friends and family have just read the title of this essay and asked themselves, “Who’s Grace?” I will tell you all about Grace. But first I am going to talk about Phoebe.
Remember that “Friends” episode when Rachel and Phoebe go for a run, and Rachel is mortified to be seen with her friend because Phoebe likes to run with flailing reckless abandon? I completely identify with Phoebe in this episode. Although my limbs are not quite as wild as Phoebe’s when I run, we share a common purpose: we both run for the simple reason that it feels good, and we don’t care what it looks like to get the good feeling.
If you use the term loosely, you could say I have been a “runner” for several years. But I am not one who runs for distance or time; I just like to get out for thirty minutes to an hour and move until I sweat enough to clear my head. Running is like concentrated yoga for me in that way. In fact, I have incorporated pieces of my yoga practice into my running. My friend and yoga teacher, Lynn, often instructs us at the end of her yoga class to lie on our backs with palms facing up to “receive grace.”
(Allow me now to introduce you to my friend, Grace. This is the part when I tell you about how I don’t care how ridiculous I look when I run).
I have discovered that when the sun is shining just right, and I have been running for a while, and a good song starts to pipe through the ipod, if I turn my palms to face the sky, my friend Grace shows up. You can call it Grace. Or you might call it the simultaneous warming and chilling effects of sunshine on my sweaty palms. Doesn’t really matter what you call it. All I know is that when I do this very simple thing; when I turn my palms to face upward while I run, all of a sudden the grass is a little greener, the sky is a little bluer, the music makes my heart a little fuller, and I can’t help but get a very stupid grin on my face as a tingle runs up the back of my neck. Every time.
I am sure I look ridiculous while I run. I don’t care. Neither does Grace. She seems to grace me with her presence without prejudice.
So if you see a 40-something-year-old woman jogging around the battlefields in a “Life is Good” t-shirt, palms up, stupid grin, maybe even singing out loud and doing a little dance, it’s me. Running with Grace. You should join us sometime.