Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mid-Race Report


Where had I heard this wind before
Change like this to a deeper roar? 
What would it take my standing there for,
Holding open a restive door,
Looking down hill to a frothy shore? 
Summer was past and the day was past.
Sombre clouds in the west were massed.
Out on the porch's sagging floor,
Leaves got up in a coil and hissed,
Blindly struck at my knee and missed.
Something sinister in the tone
Told me my secret must be known:
Word I was in the house alone
Somehow must have gotten abroad,
Word I was in my life alone,
Word I had no one left but God. 
Robert Frost

   I enjoy the solitude afforded by running. I don't run to escape or isolate myself. If anything, running frees me to ponder what is truly substantial, valuable, and important in life. Each breath becomes a prayer; each footfall the rhythmic accompaniment to vivid memories, each heartbeat a celebration of the abundant blessings bestowed upon me and now preserved and revisited like cherished collectibles in the album of my mind. 
   Sometimes, the journey leads to a replay of memorable scenes representing the highest peaks of excitement and happiness; a few strides more, I might be led -reluctantly- to revisit a shadow-laden trek through the lowest valleys in my life. My running becomes the physical act of recovery from those lows, each step leading me through, out, and then beyond those memories, refocusing on what lies ahead and the opportunities awaiting upon my return to home and family--or perhaps on to another page in the album, another climb to a recollection of a moment bringing joy, a smile or a nostalgic longing for times past. Running affords an opportunity to reconnect - to God, to priorities, to what is truly meaningful in life. It provides the opportunity to sift through each day, leaving aggravation and petty annoyances aside to re-calibrate my perspective on life's big picture. Running is more than fitness, more than exercise, more than a hobby; running is a journey both literally and figuratively, and I never know to where, or to whom, it is going to lead along the way. 
   There is contentment after a run; there is peace; there is a return to center. I often feel prepared and refreshed, and I am often humbled and grateful. Running is a reminder that life's journey is filled with opportunities to build, to create, to encourage, to cherish, to value, to love; its solitary nature is also a reminder that there is an appointed finish when this beating heart will cease, these memories will wither and fade like dry grass, and I will someday stand with no one left but God. 
   I am now closer to the conclusion of my race than I am to the start. But it never was about measuring distance. I know now it's about the journey, and with God's blessing, I still have many more miles ahead. 
   And I am at peace.