Running to Extremes
Slow Down to Enjoy What Matters
An artist was painting a picture by a peaceful stream. Suddenly, he was interrupted by a noise.
A runner was noisily running along the path. The runner saw the artist and stopped to admire his painting. The artist saw that the runner was perspiring badly and breathing heavily so he offered him some water and invited him to sit down and rest awhile.
As the runner sipped his water and watched the artist paint, he began to feel incredibly peaceful and he and the artist began to talk. Finally, the artist casually asked the runner, “So why do you run?” The runner said, “To exercise my heart muscle so I won’t have a heart attack.”
“I imagine running makes you spend a lot of time away from your family,” said the artist.
“This is true,” said the runner. “My wife and I are separated and she is in the process of filing for a divorce. She says all the time, running makes me not spend enough time with my son.”
“It sounds like you haven’t come to grips with your mortality,” said the artist. “You need to come to grips with your mortality. You need to accept the fact that you are eventually going to die, no matter how much you run. When you are taking your last, final breaths of air, and you look back on your life, do you want to be able to say I was a good father and husband, or I was a good runner?”
The artist and runner exchanged addresses and said they would keep in touch. They runner said he would think about what the artist said.
About three months later, the artist got a letter. It was from the runner. The runner said he had given up running and now spent all of his free time with his wife and son. His wife had agreed to take him back. He said they were going to reaffirm their vows and wanted to see if the artist could be the best man.
The point of the story is people who are addicted to exercise are just surviving. They are not really living. They are just living for their next breath.
We must not become so concerned with exercising our heart muscle that we overlook the things in life that are the most important. Things such as taking a walk along the beach, writing a letter to a friend, or holding a baby.