New Rhythms: Change Log, Days 43-49

Updated: Jun 2

Week 7: 5 runs, 7 walks / ran 20.1km / 5k in 24:34

I still exercise daily. My sanity depends on it. I type from a chair next to my father-in-law’s hospice bed. He rests to the hum of his oxygen and the infrequent tapping of my fingers. Dad is a fighter. For nearly five years he has fought. I know a fighter – I watched my mom battle Sjogren’s for 25 years before her journey here ended.

In late February, my wife began visiting each weekend. We resisted taking the whole family in the middle of flu season. In early March, a colleague encouraged us to take our children. We did, and grandpa’s spirits surged. Under quarantine ourselves, by late March, we began visiting as a family each weekend. This rhythm paired nicely with daily exercise, and the margin we found as a family provided play and rest that our pre-COVID-19 life had squeezed out.

Over Mother’s Day weekend, another friend asked why we didn’t just stay – strong advice, and it stuck. Our continuing stay-at-home order made the choice easy. We decided to conduct our remote work and remote school a bit more remotely.

Back to today, and week 7 – there is a deeper joy mixed into the sorrow. I’m grateful for the silver lining we have drawn from the devastating tragedy that is COVID-19. I am grateful for the good we have claimed in the face of cancer’s treachery.

We are reimagining the rhythms of our life. In January, I resolved to carve more family time. By March, I had taken only a few small steps. Then, COVID-19 intervened. Forced to lead a different life, we are suddenly choosing how we want to live.

Like choosing daily exercise, following new family rhythms takes perseverance and grit. The first weeks were awkward and inconvenient. Forming any new practice feels this way – change is hard. Now, having the foundation of daily exercise, I step into new practices with fresh confidence that I can succeed – that we will be able to establish new and meaningful rhythms for our family.

Dallas Willard wrote about transformation as a combination of vision, intention, and means – vim and vigor. Without the means, the clearest vision and strongest intentions will fail. It’s out intended rhythms that bring our vision to life in practical ways. These rhythms are simple new routines or practices that change us – transform us into our future selves.

In a way, today’s run was a gift to future Aaron. A tangible practice I need to grow discipline and clear headspace for focus and clarity. Future Aaron will thank me someday – my aching knees did him a solid this morning.

In this season of life, when all the days run together, and weighty headlines push against our comfortable lives, just slipping on my running shoes takes extra effort. I have vision. I have strong intention to see it through. Now, I am also cultivating the means – those tangible practices that foster transformation.

Do you have a clear vision? Are you motivated to achieve it? Do you know why it matters and what it will take to see it through? If not, start there. If so, identify the means – those habits, rhythms, and practices that will foster your transformation.

If it includes daily exercise, fantastic, I’m right there with you – seven weeks deep and counting.


© 2013 by A.R.MARSHALL, PhD