Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When the Wrong Numbers Sabotage Inner Thoughts


Martin Luther King weekend was spent in Chicago to celebrate Collin's 6th birthday.



"It is January in Chicago, right," you say.  

"Why is your son wearing shorts?" you ask.

Let me explain:  we whisk Connor straight from soccer practice to Chicago.  He didn't want to steal any precious moments from the Lego Discovery Center experience by changing into long pants.



I could almost hear their inner declarations of "I've died and gone to heaven" as they ran around the Lego Discovery Center.


How do you follow up a day at the Lego Discovery Center? At the Chicago Science and Industry Museum, of course.


My sweet college friend Rachel and her family joined us for the day.  In my head, we're still 19 and running around campus.


MLK Day we were back home.  Spent the afternoon with Memaw and Papa and the Harlem Globetrotters.  The boys have lots of new tricks to integrate into their next basketball game!

Math has never been my strong suit.

I loathed the obligatory math courses in high school.

I switched majors in college just to avoid a required Calculus class.

I never fancied myself to be good at numbers.

I gravitated towards words and language.

But recently, I thought about how numbers dominate much of my inner thoughts.

This epiphany came as I was running.  As I pounded out a few miles, my thoughts stuck on a number: the digits that just appeared on the bathroom scale.  The number was higher than anticipated.  I'd like to attribute that fact to a particularly gluttonous holiday season paired with a Chicago weekend packed with all the best (and worst) Windy City food. (Or I'd like to blame a faulty dryer that somehow has managed to shrink just my clothes.)

The number trailed me as I ran.  I couldn't shake it.  It was relentless.  It paced me and persistently stuck in my thoughts.  

I used that number to do math.

I can run 5 miles to counter that one Chicago style pizza slice.

Maybe I can add another mile to diminish the calories from that decadent Red Velvet Cupcake.

Maybe I'll skip chips at lunch today and deduct another mile.

(Perhaps I can make that number move with Jedi mind tricks.)  

And so the inner equations raced through my head.


Then came the epiphany.

Maybe I am a numbers person.

And if I am a numbers person, perhaps I'm fixating on the wrong numbers.

Why do the digits on the scale mean more to me than other numbers in my life?

I started to think about what numbers should be more important.

One.  

My one relationship with God.

My one husband.

My one home.

Two.

 My two parents.

My two in-laws.

Four.

My four sons.

Many.

Family members.

Neighbors.

Friends.

I realized, it wasn't bad to be fixated on numbers, as long as they are the right numbers.

And so I spent the remainder of the run grateful for the other numbers in my life; the ones that mean more than the number that can sometimes sabotage my thoughts.











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