“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” – Anne Lamott
Time for some truth-telling.
Recently, I have been struggling mightily. It shows up in my running. Several times during a run, I felt like I could give it up completely, forever, and immediately and never look back.
Physically, I’m fine. My hubby (and running partner) and I have been running more miles each week and my comfortable pace has gotten faster than it has been in years. My legs feel excellent; my lungs are strong.
Mentally, I’m a mess.
Not every time, but I never know when it is going to strike, a feeling of panic, an irrational fear that I just can’t do it, whatever “it” is.
Twice in the last two weeks, I have dissolved in tears in the middle of a run, leaving my poor bewildered husband to wonder what is happening.
I want to tell myself, “Shape up! You have so many blessings. Get a grip!” Or, I want to say “You are a good runner. You have done this so many times in the past. You got this.”
But what I think is, “You can’t keep up. You won’t be able to do this. You might as well stop.”
I need some hope and I need it now.
Luckily, as Queen Anne says in her quote, hope begins in the dark.
It presently appears to be fairly dark in my running life.
Yes, growth often begins in the dark – a seed underneath the soil, a baby in the womb. Hope in a difficult time.
When feelings of despair begin to show up like ominous clouds on the horizon in my mind, I remember the last part of the quote. And I feel the first tender green sprouts of hope beginning to push through the dark soil into the light.
I am a big believer in “fake it until you make it.”
I am also unreasonably stubborn.
Putting one foot in front of the other until the magic returns is my plan. I will walk, maybe with tears running down my face, if I need to walk. I will slow down. I will run solo, if that’s what it takes. I will run without a watch.
“Working at it” is like medicine, even though it may be a bitter pill at times.
“Working at it” is what we do every time we step out the door with our running shoes laced up and our hands poised to hit “start“.
“Working at it” is second nature to runners. When we work at it, we are moving forward, toward a goal. We work through injuries, through ageing, we even work through a crisis of confidence.
We know from experience that one day, we will be running downhill with the wind at our back and the sun just beginning to shimmer over the horizon. Like magic, the feeling of strength, of confidence, of moving easily with our God-given bodies will be there waiting for us.
If we don’t give up.
So I won’t give up.
You can find the places I link up here.