My older son--not-so-little-R.--runs track. He's a much better athlete than I ever expected him to be. Not-so-big-R., my husband, is a good athlete; but my superficial and totally non-scientific observation is that bad athlete genetically trumps good athlete. But that's another story. NSLR is pretty good, it seems, and one of the coaches has casually told NSBR that our son could be great if he focuses on hurdles. He doesn't have the genetic gifts to be a lightning-fast sprinter, but the significant speed he does have can be put to good use in hurdles, which require a) strategy (i.e. brains or at least an interest in applying them) and b) heart. Hurdles are heartbreaking. NSLR hates them a lot of the time.
So that's one thing. Another is that I've been trying to get back into running. Other people's training is a very boring story so, briefly, I took up running seven years ago and since then I've lost and gained the same 15-20 pounds three times, got so I could run a hilly 10K under an hour, and now find myself back almost where I started around a 12 minute mile. On Monday I checked into a local park on Facebook and my friend who works for the park system said I should stop by. He asked if I had gone for a run and I said, "Sort of," and described my predicament. He nodded, sympathetically, knowingly. Then I told him that one of my other high school friends is trying to get a group of gals to do this Warrior 5K, and that I had agreed, signed up, and then read the description of the race only to discover that it is a 5K obstacle course, featuring such things as water, fire, barbed wire, and mud. He again chuckled sympathetically, then observed,
"The thing about those obstacle 5Ks is, with the obstacles, you're never running for very long--lots of breaks."
That made sense, although I do find that I personally have a problem with taking a break to walk, which is that I never want to start running again.
Then I went home and watched my friend David's latest video blog:
In recent years, I have watched David's growing interest in his faith with, well, interest. I like to learn about spiritual journeys in which people engage with--okay, I can't find the word. I initially said "nuts and bolts," but that turned out to be the opposite of what I meant, despite my vision of a drawer heaped with mixed nuts and bolts. Then "trappings" but that sounds so dismissive. Minutiae? When people engage with the finer points of their religion. Both Judaism and Catholicism have a lot of fine points, including "smells and bells" as my home team would say, and some people view those things as points of connection with God and some view them as...obstacles.
So, above, Dave makes a conscious--conscientious, even--decision that he cannot knowingly break one of the ten commandments by praying to a statue of Ganesh, who, as it turns out, is both the creator and the remover of obstacles. Dave hit an obstacle between him and his Judaism, and he removed it by creating an obstacle between him and his love for kirtan. Then he was able to find a way around--or through, it doesn't matter. Between this and the diving Wednesday this place is just a forest of mixed metaphors. See what I did there?
So I was thinking about all those things, and then today my friend Jim blogged about Mariano Rivera and his possibly career-ending injury:
The key to his success was that nothing that happened on the field ever knocked him off of his feet.
We should all live like that. It's just baseball. It's just a game. It's just one test. It's just work. Tomorrow is another day. I try to do it, and much of the time I can't. This guy did it on one of the world's biggest stages every day. I know Mariano Rivera is a very religious guy, and maybe that's what allows him to approach his work, his life this way. I'm not religious, but I think the key is finding something to grab onto that's bigger than you. Your family, maybe. Your writing or your music, if that's what you're into.
So there are a lot of possible strategies for these hurdles in life, and jumping over is just one. Trying not to let them break your heart is another. I have no real answers, but I'm glad we're all in this together. And I love the brave new world that lets us share it.