Ever a man of his word, he laced up his old running shoes this morning to join me. His 'old' Asics are 14 years old to be exact...they actually fell apart from dry rot at the end of the race. Seriously.
Because I am nothing if not ferociously independent, I rebuffed his offer to run 'with' me. I had been training alone. I knew he'd be faster than me. I also didn't want to get into a squabble while running if I wanted to quit and he pushed me... So we started together and planned to reunite at the finish line. In the course of our 'real' daily lives this 'divide and conquer' strategy frequently works for us.
During the course of the first mile, he pulled about 75 yards ahead of me and then his pace slowed a bit. There was a rough patch through the woods (after a monster hill I wasn't expecting) where I had to power walk for a minute. As I emerged from those woods I could see his white shirt. We weren't close enough to speak and I didn't know if he realized I was trailing him--but for the last mile and a half, he was my pace car. He never looked back, but I had a sense he knew I was there. I followed him all the way across the finish line.
|Do you see me following in the distance?|
My tears were a release of all the anxiety I had tied up in this goal.
I was humbled with gratitude at how my health has been restored since that hospital bed 8.5 years ago.
I was overwhelmed by the tenderness of my husband, who after 11 years of marriage knows how to lead stubborn old me. (Even when it means running 3.2 miles in dry rotting shoes.)
Before I was married, I treasured the analogy of Christian singlehood being a race where you should run as hard and fast as you could while focused on the Lord. As the adage went, one day you'd hear someone else running beside you as hard and fast as you were. At that point you would reach out, grab their hand and run the rest of the race together. I loved the imagery.
I had my real life version of that today--only I got to experience the freedom and joy of following. There was a time when that would have made no sense to me at all. I would have demanded equality at all costs and tried to make a case for why I should even be leading much of the time. But today, knowing the heart of my teammate, nothing brought me more comfort and strength than following my strong and consistent leader.
I didn't do it today. We did.
I am exceedingly grateful for my man.