“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.“
Thomas A. Edison
It was one of the coldest and darkest runs I’d ever been on. The heavy rain combined with the sideways wind made me angry and numb. Despite my menacing balaclava, three layers of shirts, thick compression socks up to my knees, and a headlamp, I couldn’t find my groove. Half-way into my weekly long run, I thought about asking a random passerby if they wouldn’t mind driving me home. Needless to say, it was brutal, but I knew I had to keep going.
With a few miles left, several parts of my body were losing feeling- my lower jaw and lips, my fingers (which were in specialty running mittens) and my toes. I wanted to speed up, but as you can imagine, frost-bitten toes don’t exactly make running faster a possibility.
At one point I screamed, “Ugh, this is miserable! Stupid rain!” Finally, I turned down my road and plodded along as fast as I could until I reached our driveway.
I barreled through the front door, a bundle of emotions and despair. My husband could tell I was visibly upset with yet another dreary winter morning. I hurled myself into a steamy, slow, and painful shower. My whole body coming back to life under the cascading stream, every numb part regaining circulation. My skin turning from red, to hot, to itchy, and finally back to normal temperature.
Running reminds me how resilient we are as human beings. Our will to press on in the direst circumstances is nothing short of impressive. It’s unfortunate that we don’t always give ourselves credit nor recognize our determination to overcome, to finish, to keep going in the face of steep terrain or tumultuous seasons.
Self-help books are usually too complex for my liking. I’m rather primitive when it comes to the how-to’s of experiencing the good life.
In my words,
Keep walking. (Or sometimes keep running.)
I’m not saying there aren’t clear seasons of slowing down to a snail’s pace or readjusting our speed. There will be. And there will also be times when there are legitimate things we need to give up or throw out of our packs.
Physically we might actually need to stop, call a time out, catch our breath, schedule a long Sabbath. However, it doesn’t mean we’ve given in to the depression or the discouragement or the darkness. We are a people who keep taking tiny steps no matter our lack or level of enthusiasm.
Remember, dear reader, you are moving miracle. You are fully endowed with all the encouragement to keep putting one foot in front of the other- your very own breath. Even on the harshest of days you still have it in you. Curse the rain if you must, but don’t stop moving through it. One of the mottos of my life comes from the children’s song, Going on a Bear Hunt.
Can’t go over it,
Can’t go under it,
Can’t go around it,
Got to go through it!
What is it that you are trying to go over, or under, or around, when you really know it’s time to pick up your feet and go through?
In a world caught up in endless hacks and tips on living better and being more productive, I think there might be a simpler way to finding a full and rich existence. It comes down to this:
Acknowledging that you are indeed alive.
Do you feel your spirit and the wind blowing in blustery gusts? Let it be your cue to face the elements head on. Then, you’ll always find your way home. Joy will follow too because even the darkest days can’t keep you down.