I had high hopes for my first run of 2017. But a mile or so into it, good intentions swirled with clumsiness and a cluttered mind, and I kind of lost my momentum and ended up walking much more than I’d intended.
Thus, as much as I reminded myself how lucky I am to move at all (which I truly believe with all my heart), I just wasn’t feeling the joy. To be quite honest, that kind of embarrassed me a little, because I take great pride in gleaning snippets (or, quite often, large chunks) of joy — my Moments of Joy, I call them — from every blessed run. And to be six miles in and feeling a ho-hum heart, well, that was not good at all.
Then I heard Philip Reeves, an NPR reporter, talking about New Year’s Eve in Brazil. Millions of people gather on the Copacabana beach, not only to watch fireworks, but to take part in a tradition: They wade as deep as their ankles into the ocean, and when a wave comes, they jump over it.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven times. With each jump, they make a wish. It’s a secret — much like blowing out candles on a birthday cake, I guess — but one woman opened up when Reeves talked to her.
“You just went in the water there, and I saw you jumping up and down seven times,” he said. “Do you mind if I ask you – I know it’s a secret, but what generally did you wish for?”
She answered this: “Money, peace, love, hope – everything that I think – that is good.”
Now, hours and hours later, when I remember my run, I remember — not my plodding, not my slightest discomfort, not my trepidation about a new year — but those waves hitting the beach, and the jumps of optimism.
So for love, for peace, for giggles; for the constancy of the ocean, and of our breath, and of the sunrise; for the human spirit that believes in the hope and possibility and promise of a new year — for our very own seven, giddy-with-anticipation wishes — the Grateful Runner says thank you.