Lately when I run, I go too fast, get winded, and need to stop and walk. That whole ‘race-stop-walk-race’ cycle is so frustrating, because I lose my stride, I feel like I’m failing, I see others streaming past.
Lately when I parent, I race ahead in my mind to the time of college application and acceptance, of what the lives of my children will look like then, of what opportunities and choices they will have. This causes me to see my human babies as commodities in competition and to see only the flaws that need fixing. It’s frustrating because we lose our ease, feel like we’re failing, see others streaming past.
Lately when I live, I see my work as shapeless, unstructured, not fully realized. I’m still searching for whatever ‘it’ will be, and I see others working on definite schedules towards definite goals. This leads me to despair and find myself unworthy. I feel like I’m failing, I see others streaming past.
But the thing is, this idea of ‘others streaming past’ me is not real. It’s an illusion and an ugly game that is unwinnable.
I’m not running against anyone but myself, not parenting any kids but my own, not living any life but mine. And it’s all gift. So what is my problem, exactly?
This innate sense of competition doesn’t ever make anyone feel good, do their best, or see their lives with clarity. I know that my life belongs to God, and He’s got the Plan and so much of what I need to do is trust and live my own life the best I can.
In my running, I have taken to going only so fast as I can comfortably go while breathing through my nose. It’s a trick, I guess, but it’s working. And, strangely, my times end up being about the same as when I race-walk-race, but I’m running in a much more fluid, comfortable and enjoyable way.
I watched a show last night that featured a cancer stricken Mom and her teenage son. The way she looked at him, full of pride and longing and love…like she didn’t want to miss a minute…made me remember that my children are so much more than an amalgamation of their accomplishments. They are pure gift, and the act of simply enjoying them has made up the very best moments of my life. I want to use my time with them well.
I am learning in life that my purpose and value are in doing whatever is set before me with as much love as I can muster. Whether I am singing, teaching, writing, or caring for others, the key is in being fully present where I am. When I take it moment by moment and live consciously, I do it right, and it makes me feel important, useful, loved, part of a Plan.
Live in the moment, breathe, slow down.
These are the lessons I learn over and over and over, and someday day they will stick for good.