I’m pretty broken-hearted right now. Bad things just keep happening. People are dying and there’s just nothing I can do but cry. I’ve got 4 weeks of the semester left to go and then I can take a few years down. I’m really having to dig deep and tap into my fierce cross country training I had as a child. I was noodle-skinny and didn’t have a ride home. (Home was a 2 mile walk.) I stayed after school 3 to 4 days per week and on many days we had meets and races against the local schools. I was lightning fast as a kid! But any good racer knows it’s not about the speed but the diligence and steady pacing throughout. It was so hard to deliberately allow people to pass me up at the beginning of the race because I’m so competitive. There’s nothing I hate more than losing. But 2 & 3/4 of a mile in, I passed many of those girls up who were bent over holding their sides- walking it out. I was delirious with pain and utterly exhausted, but honed in and focused on my breathing and speed. There was nothing else to do but push on. I finished almost every 3 mile race and ended up with two medals and a whole slew of ribbons over those three years.
One day, my cross country teacher (Mr. Lang) found out my dirty secret. I had been running the two miles home after running 3 mile races. I was embarrassed because nobody could pick me up after school. One day, he offered me a ride and when he found out I’d been running home too, he became my official ride. I became his star runner and he really shaped me into a strong child athlete. I was only 9. So now, even after all these years, when I’m hit with a hard time, I reach back and grab those early life lessons; that training carved into me some serious strength of character.
So now I have to focus on school. I was so close to dropping out the other day, but Josh- he knows just what to say to get to me! He knows me better than anyone. He reminded me that I had an obligation. “It’s about the principle, Birgy.” And that’s all it took. He knows that “principle” means more to me than anything else in a matter. I’ll haggle for 5 hours over two pennies if somebody’s trying to get one over on me, but give away everything I have to people who need it. It’s the principle of it.
So now, heart falling out of my chest, I push on and remind myself that the end of the race is the most important part of all. It’s at the end that people start dropping off like flies. Not much different than a spiritual race. People I’ve known for 30 years now are turning into heartless, loveless beasts. Cruel animals.
I was told recently about this poor old Christian woman in the hospital. One of her sons went and told her that the reason she didn’t have cards and flowers is because she was too “spiritual” and talked about God too much and that nobody wanted to go and see her. What’s this world coming to when you can do that to your own mother when she’s down- and then call yourself a Christian too? God help us.