Running has its perks! Gets you healthier, builds confidence and it challenges you but it’s humbling and makes you appreciative. Well it does for me. When I’m driving on various streets in Atlanta I hardly pay attention to my surroundings. I’m usually too focused on my driving and that of others. But when I’m running on the streets of Atlanta I get a different perspective of everything.
Downtown Atlanta is saturated with homeless individuals. I notice this when I’m driving but it’s a humbling experience when I’m running and see homelessness first hand. It goes beyond humbling. It was 34 degrees this morning with a windchill of 24. It was freezing and I was out there by choice. But these people didn’t have any other choice. Several were lined up in front of the church waiting for it to open its doors. All I could think about was how grateful I am that that’s not my life. God has kept me from that type of situation. It makes you pray a little harder and a few seconds longer. It will make you reevaluate what you consider a problem. My problems are minor or nonexistent compared to these individuals who basic needs are not being met.
How can we live in the greatest nation in the world and still witness such things? Don’t get me wrong I don’t expect homelessness to be totally eradicated but it’s disturbing that we have our fellow citizens crowding the front of a church door awaiting its opening just to stay warm for a few hours. It was more humbling this morning than ever before.
As a runner, I’ve become immune to certain things in downtown Atlanta. The stench from lack of cleanliness I can handle. The terrifying drivers I can manage. The hills I can overcome. The “nice” scenery I can enjoy. But nothing stops me in my tracks like witnessing homelessness first hand. Running has done so much for me. I can’t help but wonder if running can do for them (homeless individuals) what it has done for me. It has empowered me. Challenged me to push myself, believe in me, believe in better. It has kept me sane when I felt insane was my only option. It has humbled me and makes me appreciative of things I never thought to appreciate. As a runner, I think running solves all problems. Why not homelessness too?