I am running so super slowly all over town, and even though it’s mortifying, it’s by design. All of the best advice I’ve heard about increasing mileage is to extend your longest run of the week by time, not distance, and to run it as slowly as you can bear it. As I meander through town, perhaps noticed by people in cars whom I may know, I am designing running shirts that read: I CAN RUN FASTER THAN THIS. THIS IS MY LONG RUN. I’m always justifying myself in my head. But who knows? Maybe on those days, someone is passing me who has never before thought they could run, and because of my super slow, not necessarily young example, they give it a try. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to have my running process all over the town map in full view.
Certainly, much of my emotional and spiritual process is in view by anyone who’s ever talked to me for more than five minutes or clicked on my blog. As an introvert, I really dislike small talk, but love connecting with another person in a conversation that matters. Occasionally, this gets me into trouble. I will feel a vibe from someone that indicates that I have over-shared in my attempt at connection, and that’s an uncomfortable thing to realize. Not everyone lives with their bleeding hearts on their sleeves, I know. It’s probably much neater that way. But as Glennon Doyle Melton said, “ ‘me too’ is magic.” For me, it is, and that spark of recognition keeps me moving forward.
We live our lives one step at a time, and our example can be messy, helpful, disappointing, clarifying, stumbling, and inspiring, sometimes all at once. We really are products of all of the people who have influenced us, for better or worse. At my life’s end, I hope my funeral will be well attended, (that the music will be awesome), and that people will speak kindly about me, my faith, and my legacy, but I know that is a ‘finish line’ moment. Today, as I wrestle with my doubts, fears, and hopes, I am in process toward becoming the person I will be in the end, and it’s these struggling moments that forge me.
There is no way I will reach my running goal without these slow, red-faced long runs through town, and there is no possibility of me reaching my life’s potential without honest introspection and a whole lot of interior work. Both are on display at times, and I’m okay with that. Hopefully, I will get to see the fruit of all of it at the finish line.
And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame… Romans 5