Mr. Brightside | 07.22.19

In the words of Dr. Emmaunuelle Tulle, “Running gives you a feeling you have achieved something and a sense of tremendous satisfaction.” Personally, I think the something Dr. Tulle is alluding to is the ability to travel from one location to another with feet. Not a bicycle or roller skates or an automobile. But two feet. Like Rocky Balboa gliding through the streets of Philadelphia, my nimble feet dance across the asphalt, concrete, and dirt in my city. In short, running equals happiness.

This belief reminds me of a book I read to my son recently: Happy Hippo, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton. Unsurprisingly, this short tome talks about moods. Though I’m thirty-seven, I still need sporadic reminders that moods change abruptly. I can run the gamut in a single day. For instance, mere moments reading the news induces anger and indignation; conversely, mere moments with my son sparks joy and calm.

Personally, the correlation between running and happiness is complex. I’ve read about people who run for escape, and maybe this is a valid assessment of my own cardiovascular treks. However, I’m inching to the conclusion that I’m running towards someone. God. The Almighty. Maybe that’s why songs about running after hope hold such fervor in my spirit. Take the opening lines of “Where the Streets Have No Name” (1987) by U2:

I want to run, I want to hide

I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside

I wanna reach out and touch the flame

Where the streets have no name

“I was just trying to sketch a location, maybe a spiritual location, maybe a romantic location. I was trying to sketch a feeling,” said Bono of the song. Personally, I liken “Streets” to a glimpse of heaven, a place I can run without constraints. I want to run where the streets have no name and the light is palpable. “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb,” writes John in Revelation.

As a man of few words and the expression of a stoic, I don’t fault those who see me as a pessimist. I wrestle with this assessment too. Still, I fully believe that a gleaming, dazzling, vibrant day will come. A happier day will come. The kingdom of God will be established for eternity. That’s the optimist that resides within. The light is dim at the moment, but it’s getting all the brighter.

Photo courtesy of Charlota Blunarova

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Austin Bonds