Hit the ground running today after a lively night filled with needs of the restless little people. A relief, almost, when the alarm clock sings. 6:20, up and going, seeing a 9:30 appointment deadline already rushing up to meet me. Time accelerates.
Wet khakis thrown into the dryer, skimpy lunches packed from half-bare cupboards; my trousers, they barely button and the coffee tastes bitter. My morning verse pools in my mind but doesn’t sink in. I clench my teeth and run on.
Funny thing, that squeezing at the waist. Yesterday I ran seven miles so shouldn’t my pants have room? I ran seven, but do not consider it an accomplishment. The miles burn and the resistance is everpresent and I feel each step in my bones. Tap, tap, tap, tap, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale as I seek an even pace, some semblance of momentum, a steady gait, a rhythmic progression down the road. David and four winsome kids drive by shouting words of encouragement, offering blue Gatorade and rosy smiles, just when I want to stop. I will myself forward, parting atoms and air and creating the breeze in my ears by sheer force of effort.
Today, here I find myself doing the same thing: running long but accomplishing little. Yes, Monday dawns gray and I rush two older kids into uniforms, crank a cold car, drive through heavy traffic with lights on in the dreariness only to drive back across town and wake another set of kids. A struggle to brush tangled curls and navigate irrational wardrobe choices only a four-year old could make. A quick glance at the clock and I know we are going to be late.
I throw breakfast into two tupperwares and heave reluctant children into carseats. They eat while I drive and apply enough makeup to thinly cover the night’s restless effects. My muffin top bulges and fitigued muscles ache and I grip the wheel hard as it starts to rain. I seethe and muse how three hours were not enough to make a morning appointment on time. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, I must continue down this path and push through time and space and finish at my destination but some days it is hard.
Children snuggly in preschool, I sit in the parking lot and raise my eyes. Lord, I do not live in a war-torn country, I didn’t walk a mile to get my water this morning, I have my health and love and all one could ask for so why do I run with such resistance? I want to feel gratitude but all I feel is tired.
Lord, give me feet for this race. Let me not run long and accomplish little.
So I pray for perspective. I ask for Him to trade minor frustrations for meaningful moments when I have run so far that my oxygen-starved brain no longer allows my eyes to see clearly the path.
As I am gripping the wheel and calling on God, my phone jumps with a new email. A mass update from a friend’s sister, a note looking back on the death of her infant twin son one year ago, and her heartbreak penetrates every word. Perspective delivered right to my inbox.
Father, I need You to set the pace, help tolerate the slow burn, muster my endurance, give me perspective on what matters to You, and let me be inspired when exhaustion sets in.
For aren’t we all in a race, running long into Your arms?