I’ve debated whether or not I would actually write this post or not, and that even if I did, would I actually push the ‘publish’ button. I’ve stopped and started and written and re-written it all in my head countless times. How honest do I be? How vague? Do people care? Or is this just for me? What to say when you have a year’s worth to share, a year that was so full you can’t believe it’s only been ONE year. I feel as if the things I’ve done and learned in this one little year have equaled the events of a lifetime. But in fact, it’s only been one year. Someday I will look back and say, that was 10 years ago, but today, today is the day that a year ago my life would never be the same.
It’s a sad story, yes. But in many more ways than that it’s joyful and overwhelmingly sweet. I can’t believe the word sweet made its way on the page, but that’s what came to mind and that’s what I will say. I’m choosing to be vague in detail, yet fluent in emotions. One year ago I was heading down a certain path, and path I thought I wanted. A path I made on my own; Mistake of monumental proportion. That path was ripped out from underneath me in the strangest (scariest?) way one could imagine. If I had chosen not to be vague, you might not have truly believed the whole story, it’s true. My loving family came to my rescue, and at that time I was not fully aware of how much I needed to be rescued. The week that followed the up-ending of my path was horrible and yet so eye-opening to the beauty of my sweet sisters and all-loving family. That week alone set in motion what has now become this past year.
This year was about choices for me; it was a choice to survive or sink. I chose to survive. I chose to be different. It was painful, oh my goodness, yes! I’ve cried, a lot. I’ve grown, a lot. And I’ve gained a lot. One year ago I did not have a job. One year ago I did not have more than half of the friends I have now. One year ago I had a family I didn’t respect the way I should have. One year ago I didn’t have running. One year ago, I was lost.
Today, well today is different. Today, I have confidence that I absolutely did the right thing. Today, I have confidence that my sisters saved my life. Today, I have confidence that my family is amazing. And today, I have confidence in myself. I owe all the glory to God. He wrapped His PROTECTIVE arms around me and shielded me from a path of destruction. He did not shield me from pain, but I believe He allowed me that pain so that I would know the difference; the difference between one year ago, and today.
In this year, I’ve seen both my sisters graduate from college. I’ve seen my cousin get married. I’ve watched my sweet grandmother go home to Jesus. I’ve seen God give me a job that I am proud of. I’ve seen my group of friends grow in insurmountable ways. I’ve seen God provide me with a Church to call home. I have watched myself run 5 miles for the first time in my life. I’ve watched myself run my first 10K, my first 15K, my first and second half marathons. I’ve watched myself become happy and content. But mostly, I’ve just watched God’s love be at work.
I have grown. I have stretched. I have lost. I have gained. I have hurt. I have learned. But more importantly, I’ve become me. I know who I am and I know who I’m supposed to be. I may not know exactly where I’m going, but I know how to get there. It’s an odd thing to see your life through a panoramic view, it really is. And I know my panoramic view may mean nothing to you, but to me that view gives me comfort. It reminds me where I’ve been. It reminds me where I could have been and shows me the beauty of where I am now. Back in March, as my Dad and I drove to my grandmother’s funeral in Lufkin, we spent some time talking about what I had been through, at that point over the past 8 months, when the small phrase escaped my lips; it’s a phrase we both have carried with us since then that provides meaning in the turmoil and it was simply this: if I had not been there, I could not be here. And that’s how I’ve chosen to live my life – with no regrets, only lessons to share. Of course I wish things had been different, what normal person would not; but that, that was not the path I had chosen. But I know now what path I will choose.
I think that’s why running has become so significant in my life; it’s a path for me to follow, a healthy path. It’s a path of redemption (although I know I have an even better one in my Holy Father). For me it’s direction. It’s a sense of control. But more importantly, it provides healing. It heals my soul, my heart and my life. I find fulfillment in accomplishments I can call my own. I find peace in the goals I have achieved. I find contentment in the friendships I have made. And I find myself empowered at who I have become because of running.
I may be an unlikely runner, but that's only because I'm letting God write for me an unlikely story, one that only He knows and one that will be so beautiful to share.