On Sunday I was thinking about a winter run. A few days earlier, I wrote about the quiet of winter, the way snow piles on snow piles, hushing the ordinary world, and admiring the Midwest sky who invents new colors. I’d been carrying these words with me and was giddy to get out for a run.
I smiled, recognizing that I am becoming a runner. I smiled thinking of the world that was waiting for me. I knew exactly what to expect since I went for a walk the day before.
The sun warmed my face as I walked through the parking lot. “Be careful,” I reminded Andy and the boys because it was slick. I wasn’t really thinking about the ice, because my thoughts were outlining the upcoming run: pulling on layers and lacing my shoes in order to get out on the road once we were home.
It happened fast.
It happened gently.
It happened in a single step.
We know moments can change the course of a life. As Andy scooped me up to right me on my feet, I fell again, because I couldn’t put weight on my ankle. We hobbled to the car. We pulled off my boot. We knew the odd shape and sickening color changed our afternoon plans.
“No run?” I asked.
Andy scoffed, but his eyes held compassion.
No matter how many hospital people I asked to make it so I could go home and continue with my running plans, it didn’t yield to the reality of the situation. Rather the prepping for a run, they began prepping to relocate my ankle, making it ready for surgery later in the week.
Two breaks and an ankle dislocation will change the course of a life.
It is not a bad thing.
As an eternal optimist, I believe this. As a woman of wisdom + whimsy, I know that God can turn this for his good. And I know, knowknowknow, that this is exactly what I need to surrender to the lesson I’ve been wrestling with for many years—how to slow my roll and quit overworking.
I know my value is not dependent on achieving results. Yet, over the years as things spiraled out of control on the home front, it became comforting to know setting a goal and working a plan will accomplish predictable results.
It is clear to me now that I was approaching running as a quest to obtain results. There were tendrils of a different story circling around, and I kept snatching them, trying to hold on to the whimsy of becoming a runner and the focus on the journey rather than the result. I kept trying to use them as proof that I was yielding to the journey. From the outside, it appeared I was doing this well. Yet, my heart would tell a different story. I was corralling and controlling achievement in order to force myself to be a runner.
Midweek while checking my steps for the day (746—ugh!), the the reality of my situation sunk in. I decided to flip my attitude. Rather than lamenting the loss of my running, I decided to be grateful that I am in okay shape, able to face this current leg of the journey with a body that can handle strange movements and sitting-too- long brought on by a no-weight-bearing ankle that needs elevated constantly.
I write this from my couch, with my ankle elevated. The surgery went well, even though there was more damage than originally expected. I’m still sitting still since my ankle swells quickly and must always be elevated. I’m learning to slow my roll.
I know each day is precious. Although I like to claim I am a recovering perfectionist, the truth is it is still difficult to let some things go. My brother, a runner, laughed when I told him I wouldn’t be walking for six to eight weeks.
“Ruthie, you’ll have to start at the beginning again and rebuild your mileage.” His amusement was contagious.
“That’s okay,” I said, and I meant it. I thought about the snowy runs I missed this week. Rather than being sad, I found my heart filling with gratitude for the journey. More valuable than the result is the journey with the right heart.
I begin anew. Reflecting on my original list of intentions in 2022, I realize I need to make some adjustments in order to focus on the journey.
- Play with pictures + stories. Document them on something I can hold.
Make a scrapbook page each week.
- Write weekly on my blog about something ordinary and small.
- Trust the process of preparing and scheduling content for work. Maintain an attitude of whimsy and wisdom in creating content.
Prepare and schedule all content for work three or more weeks in advance.
- Respond to emails so people know I care. Zero my inbox as often as possible. Remember, it does not take a long time to give this gift to yourself.
Zero my inboxes every week.
- Write letters and put them in the mail.
- Be a runner as part of being physically fit. Enjoy being outside and allow the deep pumping of my heart to be a reminder that the journey with a right heart is essential.
Be a runner by running 10 – 15 miles each week of the year.
- Visit 10 state parks with a friend before the end of the year.
threea trip to visit friends or family in different parts of the world.
- Knit gifts for people I like.
- Write a new book proposal. (Gulp.)
These are quiet adjustments.
I’m joining a group of story collectors at Sharing Our Stories. Won’t you join us? It’s a simple invitation: write + share + comment.
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