Friday, August 21, 2009

Lessons with Heidi

First off, a thought for the day:

"We must understand then, that even though God doesn't always give us what we want, He always gives us what we need for our salvation." -- St. Augustine

Today I am a little sore. I've been getting back into my running schedule with my dog, which is different than a normal running schedule because I am not in complete control of the work-out. For example, if I was in control, I might fartlek from one fire hydrant to the stop sign, steady my pace for a duration, fartlek again, and so forth. Heidi, on the other hand, might see a squirrel and chase it, dragging me along. I don't mind overall, since it gives the run a little extra punch, but I should stretch better and more often.

A fartlek, for those unawares, means "speed play" in Swedish and is a training mechanism which I particularly enjoy because sometimes during a run, I'll get this burst of energy and sprint madly down the sidewalk, feeling the rush, ignoring nearly everything (that's not in my way; no bueno if I would trip) till my heart feels like it's going to burst from my chest and I slow down my pace, but my breathing is still sharp intakes of air for the next block and then I do it all again.

Having Heidi with me is the best part of the run; a companion who doesn't talk. I don't like running with people because 
A) they want to talk and I want to run (we can talk before or after the run, but not during)
B) I get really, really competitive. Or rather, I am really, really competitive. I start to speed up so that I am slightly ahead because I hate following; I always feel like I'm going to step on their shoes or something. Then they speed up. Then I speed up. And so on. You cannot imagine this ends well.

Therefore Heidi is the best running partner because A) she does not speak, B) I do not get super-competitive with her and C) she pushes me and makes me a better runner. She can easily outrun me. I'd like to say that it's because she has four legs and I have two, but it's more likely that she's in better shape than I am. My brother Mikey takes her on runs as well and they easily double our mileage together. She also sleeps all day when she's not barking at passer-byers or eating, so she's always well-rested for a run or two. 

Heidi and I have been spending a lot of time together, as I imagine you have gathered. She stays close by me while I'm working. I enjoy the company. It's comforting having someone there, always there, who will follow you when you go upstairs, eat when you eat. I do not believe Heidi to ever take the place of any of my human relationships, but we certainly hold a special one. She is, for one, extremely loyal, as well as forgiving of scoldings, understanding of silence, grateful for attention and returner of love and affection. 

I've always been blessed with an easy going manner that allows me to make friends easily and, moreover, keep them. My little sister once asked me how I kept track of my 500 best friends. I answered a rolodex, which was more funny to me than her. I certainly do not have that many, but I love coming home to friends from all over wanting to catch up and hang out. This summer changed all of that, mainly because I was, in fact, not home. Most of my friends went away this summer for internships or jobs or more schooling and I kept up with quite a few of them but the fact of the matter is that relationships change. 

It's not necessarily a bad thing, unless you are opposed to change. I had a friend like that; he was a year younger than us and I feel bad because we all had a simply marvelous summer before most of us left for college. That was the turning point in our relationship with him though--we left, he stayed behind. We were in two different phases of our lives. He didn't understand why we were doing what we did and if he had gotten his wish, we would probably continue hanging out for the rest of our lives, doing nothing productive but having a whole mess of fun.

You can imagine it was a hard transition for all of us. There are loyalties, of course, and strong feelings. There are also grating personalities when a person refuses to change and insists on everyone else being the same person we were when we were 18. I am not the same person I was at the beginning of this summer, let alone after I finished my freshman year of college.

Perhaps that's the beauty of friendship--the ability to adapt and move on together. Sometimes friendships can't survive the changes, though, and just as the muscle has to tear and break a little bit in order to grow stronger, so does my heart, which I try to keep so protected and nonchalant. Friendship is a facet of love and thus, one gives a little part of one's self whenever you get close to someone. Therefore moving on isn't always easy, but I believe it's always necessary. 

These friends--people I've been close to since our high school days, knowing their parents and siblings, their favorite color and what they wanted to be when they eventually grew up. And what about those friends at college? The ones who "grew up" with you and became so entrenched in your life that you wonder how you ever thought clearly without their pearls of wisdom?

Well, as the Walrus said "The time has come,.../ to talk of many things:/ of shoes--and ships--and sealing wax--/ Of cabbages--and kings--/ Of why the sea is boiling hot--/ And whether pigs have wings." 

The time has come; I know that now. This isn't supposed to come off as if I am casting all my friends aside. Certainly not! but there is still that select few that I am acknowledge are gently drifting away from me, out of my reach, out of my world. My heart aches to bring them in closer and hold them tight to my chest but that's not how you keep friends. You keep friends by letting them go and if/ when they want, they will come back to you.

Relationships, like running, causes suffering to happen. Yet I don't plan on stopping either any time soon. Suffering is good for the heart and soul and even better for the body. Pain gives you a perspective on life that no amount of coddling could even produce. I'd prefer it in the short term, but in the long term--well, I'm basing this theory on my own smallish experiences, as well as hundreds of years worth of history and literature, most of which was so  I could never begin to fathom the amount of self-sacrifice that went into the choices people made.

So, for now, I'll give Heidi a rub behind the ears and she'll gently lick me to let me know she loves me too as I type this out, soon to move on to reviews and reading, writing letters and e-mails to distant friends, planning for the papers and listening to my sisters tell me about their days at school. I love it here but sometimes, I think about what I'd do if I could apparate (see Harry Potter if you don't know what that means); I'd find everyone I really love, who I really care about, and just let them know. I can't control how they'll react, but I would like knowing they knew and that I'd put myself out there just enough to matter.

On a really nerdy note, I got a twitter. My username is juliemrobison. I all ready have a few followers! Mostly friends. I've been blocking sketchy looking people who seem to be looking for a little something-something haha. The Onion is also following me!! I'm actually excited about that, even if it is so random.

Song of the day is "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" by Arcade Fire. I first heard this song at Nick T.'s surprise birthday party my freshman year. It was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themed and awesome. Dan M. and Heidi S. did this sweet dance to it and I've loved it ever since. I love it's pulsating beat, smooth overtones and the whole band is having a darn good time rocking out while they perform. 

Today is the feast day of Pope Pius X. He was truly great servant leader, for the Church and the Christian faith.

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