I don’t see it that way

Jun 18, 2005Find joy today

I’ve been mulling over the crazy idea that someday I could run a marathon. Patrick thinks I’m crazy. I think I’m nuts. But it’s one of those things I would like to do before I die. (Or maybe that will be the last thing I do before I die!!!)

So, I’ve been peppering marathon-folk with beaucoup des questions. There’s a mom at Julia and Aidan’s school who has run a few, so Thursday I sat down with her as we waited for our children to be dismissed. “I have a mental block,” I said. “I need your help.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Well, it used to be that I couldn’t think of running beyond a 5k, and now that I’m out of shape, I can’t think beyond two miles.” (Side note: she is British, so she understands the whole mile thing. One time someone asked me what our car got to the gallon and how much a gallon of gas cost. I popped a few brain cells trying to convert miles to kilometers, gallons to liters, and euros to dollars. Answer? I have NO idea! But, I digress. Suffice to say, she understood my non-metric mind.)

“You just keep going,” she said.

“Yeah, but I get so tired,” I said. And then I explained my philosophy of running, which is scarily similar to my philosophy of life: all or nothing. I told her I never walked, just ran, and that if I walked, I would see it as a failure. So I ran until I could heave and huff no longer, and then headed home before I dared to walk.

“Oh, I see,” she said. “Well, I don’t see it that way. If you have to walk, walk. No big deal.”

You know how you live your life with strange suppositions? Like if you are running, walking is against jogging law? I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to have someone remove that barrier for me. So, I get tired. And I walk a block or two. And then I run some more. It’s not a failure, it’s part of perseverance.

Maybe there’s a life lesson in that. That we don’t have to sprint through life, quitting when we get tired. Maybe it’s more about pace. Maybe that’s why the Lord keeps whispering sabbath to me, to place walking in the midst of my running, to give a blessed pause to my frenetic self. I don’t have to see life as a treadmill sprint. It can be a journey, where, at times I walk, others I run, and others I climb. Sometimes I will fall and dust off my knees. Sometimes I’ll stand still and enjoy the vista.

So, I ‘m thankful for the dear English marathoner who freed me this week. If you see me running the hills of Le Rouret, don’t be surprised if I walk past a few villas on my journey.