Imagine if one day you woke up and they said you were going to be entered in an Olympic marathon today. No exceptions. You had to run!
As you looked at the line up of athletes representing the best there is in physical fitness and endurance you knew you had no chance of winning. None at all.
Even if you could barely walk… you still have to run.
Whilst facing such insurmountable odds, you begin. In my case it wouldn’t take more than several steps before I started falling, and a few more before I would be crawling, and would still have another 100 kilometers before it was over. I don’t imagine crawling 100 kilometers on your hands and knees would be easy, fun or enjoyable. Not by anyone’s standards.
In this scenario it is extremely unlikely that you could ever win, and possible you wouldn’t even finish.
Imagine now that it is a race that never ends, until you end.
This is a useful metaphor for what it’s like as I look at my life compared to everyone else’s. As I watch everyone living and moving on, I feel like I drag myself through life with insurmountable odds and unbelievable challenges. Every step is a marathon. Every day.
I can’t compete with the lives of those who can move freely and have so many different opportunities and options available to them. It’s an unwinnable race. My steps are agonizingly slow and competing seems so futile.
I watch painfully as everyone moves by me about the world and does those things that I was once able to, and that I now miss terribly. It is agonizing some days. Like the world is moving on without me. But the clock is still ticking and time is running out. And yet this is not my practice life… this is my only life!
So… what to do?
I imagine the only thing that can be done in these situations, and the only thing I might have any choice in, is how I run the race.
I hope that running the race with as much dignity and character as I can muster will ultimately mean something. I hope that being able to appreciate the scenery along this painful journey is a skill worth acquiring.
Whilst so many people these days seem to be running to nowhere, yet so many don’t even recognize the blessings in being able to run at all.
For people like me, we can not run but neither can we stop. Unless it is to stop forever…
So I hope that we may meet others on the way that will appreciate the character and courage it takes for people like me to even participate and perhaps even some like me that must crawl and fight for every inch, when it would be so much easier to lay down and give up.