It’s cold and windy but I don’t notice. Not aware of the dull pain in my right 38 and a half year old hip. I can only focus on the pounding beat of the Black Eyed Peas in my ears..”Imma Be, Imma Be, Imma, Imma, Imma..” and the feet ahead of me that I’m weaving my jogging stroller in and out of. Breathe in..Ignore the pain, breathe out..focus on the end, breathe in....ignore the cheers. breathe out..focus on the next mile. Breathe in..Ignore the cold gusts of air. Breathe out..Focus on your stride.
I remember the comparisons from my cross country, high school days. “Running is like life, you have to drive yourself to get over the hills and obstacles.” Or “Just when you feel like you can’t make it, you find your inner strength and realize your capable of much more than you thought.”
And I can certainly compare my life to a race. My life is a race. But the race I’m living is not what I want. The running isn’t helping..I’m not finding my inner strength..I’m not finding peace. At least not when I try to beat time. Don't we all feel this these days? LIke we're missing out. Too busy chasing what’s next. Too busy catching up. Focusing on what’s to come. Is it because then I THINK I can control it? The future I mean. If I focus on the future then I have the illusion of control.
Turning onto Olive now and I’m still in my isolated tunnel, thumping the ground to the next old song on my “workout” playlist..Now I hear something else. A high pitched scream. It takes me a block to realize it’s Riggs. He’s crying.
What about this moment? Right now. It’s here. It’s happening. Do we race to escape the present? Is it that painful that we have to run? I hate the hurrying. Because the hurry hurts too.
We're coming down a hill..aww this is easy. But Riggs continues to cry. We are only into the third mile. I can’t stop now. What kind of mom pushes her screaming kid through the streets of downtown St Louis just because she doesn’t want to stop running in a St Paddy’s Day run? I pull over.
This rushing takes over my mind. I find myself tuning people out at work because I’m thinking of the next item on my to do list. At home. If I’m not busy cooking, or cleaning, I’m on my phone…checking email. Pinning pics on Pinterest. Watching tv.
But Monday night I decide to turn off everything. Sit still. Just Be. That’s when they start to surface...as if they're waking me up from my nonstop daze. I hear the crackling of the fireplace, I feel the comfort of my family room. Behind me comes the noises of tractors and trucks out of my little boy's mouth. The water running upstairs in the kitchen as Jason washes the dishes. In that moment, that I can’t control I find the peace. I find God reaching out as if to hand me my gifts. They're always there, I'm just too busy to notice.
I can see mile marker 4 from here. Riggs looks up from his stroller. Tears streaming down his face. I give him some milk and goldfish. His little hands are red and he’s asking for Daddy.
This hurrying hurts. Not just me but those around me.
Now that I've stopped I can hear the boom box behind me. I notice the five shirtless guys pushing what looks to be a dumpster, and the conversations between friends and couples suddenly surround me, the music from the deejays at the corner unmutes.
I stopped. I said I wasn't going to stop. My little boy looks up. And smiles.