Saturday, January 12, 2013

Running in Circles!!!!! ooooOOOO

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

We've all had those times in life when you feel as though you're trapped on the hamster wheel, going...... and going...... and going...... and never getting anywhere!  I know for sure I have. For some its the cycle of weight loss, weight gain, weight loss. For some its addiction, on the wagon, off the wagon, on the wagon again. For me, its a cycle with relationships. I love, they leave, I love.....they leave.

My life has been a series of people who have walked in and walked out. Like a revolving door in my heart I have watched countless people voluntarily come  and go.

*My father
*Aunts & Uncles
*Brothers and sisters
*Friends too numerous to count

Sadly,  its a list of names I carry around in my heart. The wound has scabbed over and healed but the damage is still there. I think it always will be. I am always aware, often too aware, of this permanent damage.

In October of last year, I ran my first 5K race. ONE  BIG CIRCLE. One hundred pounds overweight, never an athlete, unsure of whether I could complete the course, I laced up my shoes, put on the very tight spandex, hydrated and went for it.

On a beautiful, warm autumn morning, with my dearest friend beside me, I started to jog. Fear and doubt immediately tormented my thoughts. Some of these people were walking faster than I could run! I perservered.

The first quarter mile, was uphill. By hill, I simply mean a rise in the road. At the crest of the hill, two friends, holding signs "Love You Michelle!"  I felt this silent prodding that it represented my Mom who couldn't be there that day to cheer for me.

At the first bend, my husband, the most loving, committed, strong father I have ever seen. He stood beside his truck and took a picture. I could tell he was proud.  How many times I wished  I'd had a Dad like him,  as a little girl. This thought nearly brought me to my knees.

Across the street, friends cheered and yelled my name. I couldn't tell at the time WHO they were, I just knew they were cheering FOR ME.Such an incredible feeling, to know people are rooting for you!

I reached the end of mile one feeling strong. My emotions back under control for the moment. Suddenly another friend appeared , standing alone in a parking lot. Holding a sign "You Rock Michelle". She has no idea how  deeply she impacted me that day.  She's a sweet girl, 20 something. Life hasn't been easy for her, her aloneness in that moment reminded so much of myself. I had to convince myself to keep moving. I couldn't be overcome with emotion, I had to keep going.

I passed  a car dealership, famous for its daily quotes on the marquee,  and read " Those who bring sunshine to others cannot keep it from themselves". Yikes, the tears started and I just kept running. The BFF kept running beside me.

At mile two, we stopped for water. I told my BFF  I wanted to walk the distance of this street. You see, this is the street my abusive, alcoholic, dysfunctional  father lives on today. I had to slow down. I would not run in this moment. I would not run from anything, I would not run to anything, I would absorb this moment. True VICTORY for me this day was acknowledging that this man has no control over my life anymore. Not physically, not mentally and certainly not emotionally. I no longer live in fear.

At the end of the road, we picked up the pace, through the woods, a small bridge. Small enough that you must cross single file. We had arranged that I would run through first. On the other side, a vagrant, with a Doberman Pincer. I had been attacked by a Doberman when I was a little girl. They terrify me. Somehow though, I knew there was NO turning back. I was going to cross this bridge and I was going to finish this race. If he barked, if he bit me,  I would  finish. Remarkably, he didn't even glance at me.

Through the clearing, almost there...... an older woman struggled to keep her pace. I jogged beside her, talked to her, asked about her running, encouraged her to keep going. It was her second race. I could have run on by but that's not who I am. I stop and help when people are struggling. Right or wrong its who I am. When she recovered,  I moved on.

Just ahead I spotted a friend on the side of the road. A friend who had hurt me. A friend I had hurt. I asked her to join us. The significance of this moment to this day evokes awe. Forgiveness is powerful and healing and beautiful.

The final bend in the road, friends were cheering my name. I was almost there. As I began to cry, realizing that I had done it. I had actually run my first 5K, I looked up to soak in the moment, desperately wanting to hold onto it for as long a could. Up ahead, my daughter, home from college to root for me, holding a sign "My Mom is My Hero". Sobs even now as I write this. A moment I will treasure in my heart until my last breath. The cycle of dysfunction and abuse is broken. She is evidence of that. She is proof I have given it my very best and done a fine job.

At last the finish line. Does it get better than this?

I had asked my husband, to find me. To position himself in such a place that I could SEE him. I had never crossed a finish line before. I had no idea what to expect, how I would feel, I just knew I would want him to be there. And boyyyyyyyy  was he.

Amidst the crowd of people, in the center of the finish line, My Man. The only person, who has stood beside me every day, no matter what. Waiting. For me. Crying. So proud he couldn't speak. I dove into his arms and sobbed.

This big loop called a 5K was so much more than a race to me. It was evidence that I'm not running in circle. I'm running my race. Yes, people will voluntarily decide they don't want to run with me. That's ok. Its their choice. I however, must continue to move forward at my pace. Continue to see the path ahead of me, carrying my own water bottle, my own iphone, my own desires. I can not be responsible for you. You choose to run or  not to run.

Oh by the way, that BFF I mentioned? She's a crazy runner. Yeah, the kind who does MARATHONS. That day, she ran every single step beside me. She shed as many tears as I did. She humbled herself and loved me across the finish line. And when my turn to hear the crowd cheer FOR ME came? She graciously pulled to the side, allowed me to have my moment and cried tears for me, knowing something amazing had happened within me that day. I saw a little glimpse of ME....and she did too <3

By the way, yes, I'm still running! I've done 3 more races since that day. My New Year's Resolution is to run one a month in 2013. Lace up, get going, no one is gonna do the work for ya!

Special thanks to My Man, my girls*yes you too!, my BFF, and to those beautiful friends who shared this day with me. I love you so much!

Father,  give us each the grace and determination to run our own race. Help us not to place our problems on others but to carry our own weight and responsibilities. Help us to love each other in times of crisis and walk away from people and situations that are unhealthy for us. Help us, help ME to see the progress and the love right in front of my eyes <3 Amen



  1. My beautiful beautiful best friend. You are AMAZING to the core. So strong and beautiful inside and out. Such a blessing an honor to be your friend. Side by side. Always. Xoxo

  2. I am so in awe of you....your determination, your setting healthy boundaries.....your faith and the love that pours out of you....since the day I met you...which I am so grateful to have you in my life...even from a distance..xxoo