Monday, September 8, 2008

Me?! I did THAT?!

Like everyone else, there are times when I am all too aware of my faults, my character flaws, my great shortcomings. When those times bowl me over and I feel like I'm a lost cause, I pray. I pour my heart out. And then while I do what I can, I wait for counsel, and when counsel comes.....I listen.

This isn't always easy. In fact, it's usually very, very difficult, and most often very uncomfortable to do what is asked of me.

One of my great weaknesses (as I've mentioned before) is getting up in a timely fashion. When I wake up earlier than I want to (I wake up earlier than I want to all the time, really, but I'm talking about really REALLY earlier), I'm blazingly aware of the weakness of my physical body, and disheartened by the fact that I just don't pop out of bed with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Like I've said before, my emotions at these times seem to be magnified, and so sometimes I cry or almost throw up. (I feel like such a baby even admitting that!) Then once I've been up and moving for, oh, usually an hour, I start to feel like it's possible to be happy again.

So.....lately I have been praying for help to be more productive, more healthy, more spiritually sound, more.....more the person I'm striving to be. I have prayed about this for a while. Fasted about it, too.

Well, a few days ago, I was crying on the phone with Phill, who was patiently comforting me and hearing me out (I can't say enough what a good man he is), and my answer came through him. I was saying specifically how I just didn't feel that my workout efforts were making any difference. (This was after only ten days with my regular workout plan, but I was uber-hormonal and sick, which made things seem so much worse.) He said, "Sweetie, I know you're going to hate this suggestion, but I think we're just going to have to buck up and do it." Then he suggested (softly and patiently) that we wake up early together, so that after he runs, I could go running in the morning even before the kids are up, get showered, dressed, and make-up'd, and read my scriptures either right before they woke up or as they woke up. I realized (with a sinking heart and nervous stomach) that he was absolutely right, that this was really the best way to not only get my workout done and out of the way for the day, but also to help me be better organized, better energized, and more cheerful throughout the day! (Which translates to: Happier person > happier wife > happier mom > happier family)

We started this morning. When Phill came in, sweaty from his run (after which he vomited, ladies and gentlemen) and gently, smilingly, woke me up, I was inwardly angry and hardly said a word. I put my workout clothes on, picking them up from where I'd set them out right next to the bed, peering at the clock with dry aching eyes and trying not to cry. (Yes. Really.) Then I came out of the room and felt sicker when I realized it was still dark outside. I don't know why, but it is 100 times harder to get up when it's dark outside.* The world just seems so sad and sleeping and-and-and-shouldn't I still be sleeping if the world is still sleeping? Stalling for time, I went on the computer to find out what time the sun would rise in Saint George on Monday September 8th. No luck. It was 6:20, and the sun wouldn't rise until 7:15. I stared angrily at the screen for four minutes until Phill said kindly, "Honey, you'll be fine. There are lots of other joggers out there and it'll lighten up." I said, "I know!" in a croaky about-to-die-or-cry voice, and then quelled the very furious face I was shocked to find myself making, and walked out the door.

The first ten minutes of my run I went too fast and was still mad. But I kept going, and eventually started to feel a little less like pushing the other joggers off the trail. Still not excited, still not euphoric, still not feeling the pride in myself for doing something I didn't want--but needed--to do. The sky did begin to lighten around 6:45, and that made me feel a little less murderous. By the time I got home, I was not quite cheerful, but certainly not the bear I had been 45 minutes previously. I was showered and dressed when Reed woke up, and put my make-up on while Phill got ready. When I came out to read my scriptures, Reed wrapped me in his big 5-year-old hug. (And as cold-hearted as I can feel in the morning, boy, did that warm me up.) Reed woke up at 7:30. Jax woke up at 8:30. And Savvy woke up at 9:30. Tender mercies, I'm telling you. I made a YUMMY breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast for all of us and I was finally feeling like being nice was second-nature around 9:00. I hope that over the next few days my coming out of the morning fog will happen faster as I adjust to this.

Now, 9 hours after the fact, I'm proud of myself, and I'm happy that I was able to do what I know I need to do. I'm sleepy, but I took a 30-minute cat nap. I'm sore, but I'm enjoying how strong I feel. I'm sad that I will probably not be able to stay up very late to read my book (Harry Potter series for the 3rd time), but I now have more hours in the morning to do that. And Phill's doing this too, helping me, cheering me on with his wonderfully impossibly boundless kindness in my dark mornings.

*I think that another good thing about this is that I'm going to learn to associate my early mornings with something happy. One thing that makes dark early mornings make me feel sick is that at least two of the more nerve-wracking and depressing memories I have took place in early dark mornings:
Getting up for my very first day of high school (having just moved to Belgium, too) and going to my very first day of early-morning seminary. Although my mom was my teacher (so wonderful), I couldn't still the horrible feeling in my stomach until I was well into my second-period class and the sun had been shining for a while.

Getting up early to take Phill to the airport to say goodbye when he was deployed. (Dark early morning both times.)

So I'm hoping that as I create better dark early-morning memories--peaceful ones, healthy ones--that this will somehow become easier for me. And if not easier, then at least routine and habitual. I trust that I'll start to see the blessings of doing this.


Kristy said...

What if you try treating yourself to a hot chocolate or something first thing in the morning... maybe that's a terrible suggestion because you and I have talked about our shared "problem" with treats, especially with chocolate, but I don't think HC is THAT bad... anyway... good for you. I have a hard time in the mornings too, but when I've made the commitment to just do it... especially when it involves exercise and scripture reading... I'm amazed and the blessings and benefits I see.

Lara said...

You are inspiring. Too bad Joel doesn't get up at the crack of dawn to go running or I would TOTALLY do this. It's do it myself, or not at all, I'm afraid.

Go Rachel!!!

Sarah said...

You are a better woman than I! I know the ward is starting a walking group in the evenings if that works out any better for you.

You are so strong and can do this!!

Crystal said...

I'm so impressed. By the waking. And exercising. But mostly that you put make up on everyday.

Andrea said...

Good for you. Matt's been getting up pretty early and going to the gym before work. I stay in bed until the kiddos are awake (and sometimes after that). Early to bed would make a huge difference in my life.

Pam (Haslem) Dana said...

Isn't it amazing what a difference a good start to your morning can make? Now that we live out in Hurricane and now that I have my little man here I only leave my house a couple days a week, so I don't always get ready, but I always have to get up and shower and at least pull my hair up. For some reason if I don't do that first thing I feel like I drag ALL day.

It is awesome that you are always working to improve yourself though. My mom always said that if you're not moving forward then you're moving backwards. I always strive to continue to better myself. Whether it be spiritually, as a wife, as a mother, as a homekeeper, etc. Really like you said they are all relative to one another. Awesome post!

Kate said...

Yeah for you. I have been having the same difficulty wanting to workout by myself in the dark at 6 am. It just isn't what I want to do but I want to workout, so I have been working out a little later before school or after school. Probably after you do it early for a while you will really like it because it is so nice to have it done before you really start the day. To me it seems like I get more accomplished when I do it at 6am. I wish you lived here and I would love to go with you at 6 am. Keep it up.