Awhile back, during a coffee date, a mentor of mine and I were discussing life.
We pondered “why” and “what” makes one person choose to go one direction in life, and someone else to go another.
To watch one individual choose all the wrong avenues and to watch another fight for what’s right.
To be dealt a bad hand of cards and turn it into a jackpot, or to be given it all …and just throw it away.
What makes two people so very different??
I don’t know that there is a clear answer for this, but it got me thinking…..
I believe the answer is Choices.
Not just one, but every single choice.
In reflecting, it got me thinking about my own life and how different it is from my siblings.
Not so long ago, One of my trainers was encouraging me to pursue more running.
To get stronger, faster, more consistent.
I just kept telling him, “I hate running”.
Every time I was met with running in a workout, I tried to get out of it.
Every time I had the opportunity to go for a run, I found an excuse.
I “hate” running.
Then, the day came that my trainer opened my eyes.
With just a simple statement, he allowed me to look inside of myself to see why I wanted to be a runner so badly, but then stopped myself at every turn.
I admitted during a conversation, “I used to love to run”.
He asked me when I used to run.
He asked me how it felt.
He asked me “why” I used to run…and we found the core reason why I “hated” it as an adult.
You see, when I was young, my home was very chaotic and challenging.
It could be calm one minute, and then all hell would break loose the next.
My memories remind me of how I would often lace up my running shoes and walk down to our local elementary school….and just run.
To get away…..it was my escape.
I’d run the track over and over and over again.
Til I was a sweaty mess, til my heart was calm, and my head was clear.
Round and round until the craziness I left behind was just a shadow in my mind.
I did this for many years.
It’s one of the ways I coped with the insanity of every day life at my house.
And, typical me, I ended up making it fun, almost a hobby, if you will.
Inviting my best friends to run with me at night, as we had our boom box set up, cranking out 1990s tunes.
That track was solid, consistent and it never changed.
The route was predictable, which was something I craved….some sort of routine….anything stable.
Funny how something so simple can have such an impact.
I went there today.
More than 25 years after I relied on that foundation for strength.
And, it looked nothing like I recall.
Unkept, and forgotten.
I went there to express my gratitude for the time I spent there, sorting out which direction I wanted to go, in my head.
I grew a lot during those runs.
I learned a lot about my strength, much like my most recent adventure.
My last run during the trail Ragnar was before dawn.
I knew I’d be ok in the dark, as the sunrise was just around the bend.
As I ran that morning, I felt so many emotions and so many thoughts blew through my head.
My youngest brother.
He was my most prominent thought that day.
I wondered what he would be doing that morning, at that moment. While my heart beat and the wind encircled me, and my feet hit the ground below me, I knew he would not be doing the same.
And as I ran, I said aloud, “He isn’t running today”.
I know he is not ok.
I instantly began to cry, thinking of the shell he is now.
You see, he chose drugs and alcohol to get through the darkness.
For almost 40 years, it has controlled him.
And now, at 52, it has consumed the man he could have been.
He didn’t run.
He didn’t fight for the light the way I did.
He turned left, when I begged him to go right.
He didn’t protect his future, the way that I did mine.
Again and again.
Who I let in, how I cared for myself, and which direction I ran.
And, you know, what ?
I had to choose every single day which direction I would go.
We all do.
We have option after option on which way to go.
I feel like life is a bunch of arrows that are constantly put in front of us.
Left, right, U turns….
We rush through life, listening to the voices around us, not WITHIN us.
And within us, is where the light lives.
Today, like so many years ago, I chose once again….
To go back to my hometown, to the place that saved me, in so many ways.
It saved me from myself, the anger, and the madness of a world that was trying to shape me into someone I did not want to be.
I took back control and fought for the life that I pictured, and in the midst of the runs, I held on tightly to me.
I realized that beautiful circle of overgrown land, helped me hold onto my light while I was running in the darkness.
So, I wanted to go back to pray aloud, in gratitude, for all of those times it waited there for me.
I can’t say it enough.
We must listen to our inner workings and take time to hear the calling of our souls.
Whether it’s on a run, a bench in the park, or staring into the sky in order to “see”.
The answers are always within us.
Take some time to “run the track”, clear your mind from the clutter ….and just be.
God is my compass, and always will be❤️
First, you must choose the direction, then you must GO.