Unsettled is the best way I know how to describe the atmosphere of my life and surroundings right now. My house is full of moving boxes, the trajectory of my thoughts is about as focused as a bottle rocket and my stomach is playing host to a flock of hyper-active butterflies. I have recently been presented with a hundred different opportunities to learn something about myself, and how I handle stressful situations and people, as well as what my priorities may or may not be. Most often when I’m about to give myself the gold star for “Best Life Micromanagement,” God hands me a pop quiz containing only one question: “Do you trust me or not?” It’s test time here in Tennessee.
What does any of this have to do with training for a triathlon? If my eyes and ears remain open, everything. I had what ended up being a wonderful run on Monday through my neighborhood. I am lucky to live in one of the most active, creative and lively neighborhoods in Nashville and I love the route that I’ve mapped out for myself. I like taking mini-breaks to check out the beautiful hats in the window of Hat Wrks when I’m running down 10th Ave. And because I still struggle with the cleanliness of my diet, I always stop to see what’s new and fattening on the menu posted in the window at the BBQ joint on 12th Ave. We are who we are right? This particular Monday I found myself focusing not on the joy of being outside on a beautiful day but on the things going “wrong” in life. Here is a little snapshot of the negativity I let creep into my lovely run:
“The house closing is two weeks behind, the movers are coming regardless and nothing I’ve tried to get done with this move has worked out. I guess the beagles and I are going to have to live in a storage unit. It better have air-conditioning.”
“Was it really necessary for my coffee pot to explode this morning?”
“Of course the beagles tag-teamed a snake in the yard yesterday when my nerves were already on edge. Why me?!?”
“I work so hard, but no one seems to notice or care.”
“I missed three workouts last week. I will never be able to finish a triathlon.”
“What am I doing with my life?”
All that in the first 15 minutes of my run? Impressive. The ungrateful, negative chatter I was putting out there into the universe came right back at me when an SUV came crashing right into the middle of the pity parade I was allowing to roll through Crazy Town, of which I am sometimes mayor. I was turning left and came within 3 inches of being hit by a driver making a right turn. I jumped out of the way and stopped long enough to watch the driver pull to the side of the road and look back to make sure I was ok. Part of me wanted to run to her car and demand she open her window so that I could hurl profanities at her and demand that she attend driving school, but instead I gave a little wave that let her know I was ok and went about my business.
I could have done without that near run-in with tragedy, but it sure shocked me out of the self-serving chatter that I’ve been working to eliminate from my life. Shaken but still moving. In my past life I would have gone straight home, said screw the whole triathlon training thing and probably gone out and had a three or six-cocktail kind of lunch. But in my experience, which is the only thing I can share, these unsettling moments open my ears to that question God keeps asking me: “Do you trust me or not?”
Two years ago, I began to let go of things in my life that were keeping me from being the person I want to be. Unhealthy people. Unhealthy body. An unhealthy consumption of chardonnay. If you knew me three years ago and I told you I was going to start training for a triathlon, you would have spit out your drink in shock and asked for the punchline.
It’s obvious to me that my answer to God’s question has often times been “no.” And sometimes in a moment of self-induced drama it still is. Today, however, it is “yes” and “thank you.” Thank you for allowing me to find a great house in the same great neighborhood that I thought I was going to have to move out of. Thank you for these two feet of mine that allow me to run. Thank you for the ridiculous beagles that make me laugh at least ten times a day. Thank you for the motivation to work hard no matter what door closes in my face. Thank you for the ability to slap a piece of duct tape over my own mouth when the negative chatter starts.
There is a church that I pass in the last ½ mile of the route I run. I love running by to see what pearl of wisdom they’ve put up for the week. I stopped and took this photo during Monday’s run.