|Monday, Jul. 05, 2004 || Running|
I realized this morning – actually, I think it was yesterday – that when things don’t go as I envisioned them, I have this incredible urge to run, to distance myself. In so doing, I disconnect my feelings completely and wrap my heart with the cellophane of indifference.
Doing so used to be second nature. I didn’t even think about it. I just did it.
Now I have this Check in my spirit that says, “There you go, you want to run again. You want to lace up those running shoes and beat feet away from them, from this circumstance, from whatever this is that is happening that is out of your control. Where are you going?”
Running, distancing myself from whoever, or whatever, is causing discomfort or disappointment, is like that old pair of fuzzy slippers under my bed. I know they need to be replaced; they have a big hole in the bottom, but, you know, I won’t find another pair that fits so well! Knowing that they aren’t doing what they are supposed to – warm and protect my feet – feeling the chill of the parquet floor through the worn soles…
I get up and put them on anyway.
But not this time. As soon as I try, the Voice comes. “Daughter, where are you running to?”
I know the way too well to the track. Round and round I go, logging distance, pushing my limits, ignoring any pain, exhaustion mounting, and proud of myself for doing so.
But I never get anywhere. Oh, sure, I stay between the lines, perfect, concentric, structured, and safe. Measuring my steps, counting the minutes, pushing ever harder with each lap.
But the fact remains: I am simply going around and around and around.
Hey, now, don't you see? I am better at it! Each time is smoother, easier. Look what I can do, my stamina, my fortitude!
“But you aren’t going anywhere.”
The Voice, like an echo, reverberates through my mind. It is not taunting or arrogant. It simply is - wistful, even a bit sad, when I stop long enough to really listen.
Don't You see that I have to run? Are You telling me not to run?
I fall silent.
“I have a running path.”
I look. I don't like what I see. It is marred with roots and stones. It is uneven. Hilly. I can’t see beyond that curve. Or that one. Where are the lines? How will I measure the distance? And there are no bleachers for anyone to sit and watch and see how well I am doing. No one will see me if I run there...
I am quiet again. I am unsure. I hesitate.
I have heard this many times before, ignoring it, pushing it aside. I like my track...just...fine...
Something in the Voice reaches me today, and I look, finally.
Hmmmm. Why didn’t I see it before...
This path is shaded, tree-lined. Sun and leaves create a lattice work of golden light and darkened shadows dancing before my feet as they thump-thump-thump along the beaten soil. I hear bird song. I see snatches of colorful foliage to each side as my steps quicken and lengthen. I feel a breeze against my skin. It is cool and refreshing here in this kaleidoscope of light and shadow.
I realize it's not so much that I shouldn’t run.
I've just been running on the wrong track.
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