I am tired. I am worn out. My body groans in revolt of me. My legs have become too tired to carry on. Buzzing mosquitos are looking to take stabs at my bare, shinmering back. Sitting under a pavilion, I am staring at the river before me; wide, but much longer than wide, rippling in millions of tiny, dancing lights from lamp-posts lining its surrounding walkway. A cool westward-breeze sails across the water at a steady pace, hitting me head-on, pulling with it the steam from my body.
I have just run, longer than I have ever recorded (According to my Nike+ running app).
I did not think wether or not I would be able to do it. I simply looked the river in the eyes and thought, I will try. I have never run this course before, yet I believe this introduction is the first of what will be many reunions.
My numb legs have earned the bench which they have gratefully collapsed onto. I forgo standing for the moment, for fear that my feet would simply fail me.
Still, I am happy.
There was a pivotal moment in the run. Something settled in my heart, became certain in my head. About half way around the body of water–many panting breaths away from my parked car–my ambition changed. I no longer resolved to say I will try, but rather…I will.
I will keep running. I will not stop when I hit exactly X miles. I will not stop when it hurts. I will not stop until I pass my car again and I have come full circle. I will complete what is ahead of me, however long it takes.
In this moment, the moon looks on, cheering: a place my mother loves me to and back again. The fading sun beckons me to the finish line, hoping to see me succeed before it sinks with the fuchsia sky. I pass walker after walker; I so badly wish to yield, to slow, to walk like them, to give in to the pleas of my legs. But comfort was never the goal of this run, finishing was.
Bend after bend, I am praying it is the last before I see my car again, but the river continues to show me just how big it is. Then, at the right time, God reminds me of his love for me and concern for my life. This song by Colony House begins to play through my headphones, a song that has meant a lot to me this year:
I found life and I found laughter.
In forgiveness, I found rest.
On the shoulders of redemption,
I found hope when hope was dead.
I could lose it in a moment,
so I dare not close my eyes.
I’ll watch fear fall with the sunset
and see hope rise with the tide.
And when the pain is true,
sometimes these troubles prove that I’m alive.
My eyes are open,
my heart is beating,
my lungs are full,
and my body’s breathing.
I’m moving forward.
I found my freedom.
I found the life that gave me reason to live.
As this dusty road now settles
and I see what lay before,
every tear that held a broken dream
Is now shattered on the floor.
And now bursting forth in splendor
are the blossoms of second tries
because dreams that bear the mark of love
are dreams that never die.
life can feel so unkind.
Sorrow won’t define me
So just reminds my soul.
My eyes are open
My heart is beating
My lungs are full
And my body’s breathing
I’m moving forward
I found my freedom
I know this sorrow
I know the heartache
I know with fear comes a tragic heartbreak
I’m moving forward
I found my freedom
I found a life that gave me reason to love
— “Moving Forward” by Colony House
A smile spreads on my face. The pain becomes secondary. My following conversation with God takes the focus. Though my breaths come in heavy gasps, I am breathing. Though my heart has its wounds, it is beating. Though my soul has its sorrows, I am alive.
Life does not come in set miles and perfectly lined, quarter-mile tracks. Life comes in rivers. It comes in bumpy asphalt, which trees have tore up in wild rebellion. It comes in unforeseen turns and unplanned situations: in failed relationships and broken dreams.
Though I can grow tired from the pressing on of life, my heart feels worn out from another (unexpected) break-up, my regrets can pile up in revolt of my choices, and others look to take stabs at me with buzzing opinions…I will not let any of it set me back. A resilience has emerged in me, from a rebirthed confidence in myself and renewed trust in God. He has shown me how to redeem painful moments and broken situations: by moving forward and trusting him, even when you don’t know the way. And instead of simply saying I will try, resolve to say…
The run totaled 3.51mi and my time was 26:51.