Eight months ago I made the goal to run a half marathon. My goal propelled me forward, but I was not enjoying it. I was all too aware of my aching muscles and the fact that I was not enjoying it.
Then one morning everything changed. I was halfway through a run, mentally complaining over each step, when I saw a figure jogging towards me dressed in neon orange. As he drew near he raised his arm above his head and called out, “Hello fellow runner! I salute you!” The greeting was so unexpected that I had to laugh. The rest of the run was different. I picked up my head and noticed how beautiful the mountains were, admired a patch of wildflowers, and finished running with a grin on my face.
That encounter changed the way I run. I realized I needed to learn how to “run happy”—to have joy in spite of the aches and fatigue. Those things haven’t gone away, but I am less aware of them as I enjoy the beauty of my surroundings, the time to have my thoughts to myself as my feet pound the pavement, and the feeling of accomplishment as I work hard.
Life is a lot like my experience with running. How many of us have forgotten how to “live happy”, fixating on the inevitable hardships that come with life? We can start each day with the decision to be happy. When the path is hard we need to actively look for those things that can bring cheer to our hearts and laughter to our lips. It won’t rid us of our trials, but it will help us focus on all the blessings that God has given us. As we make the choice to “live happy” we will lift the hearts of those around us, as well as our own.