Saturday, March 16, 2013
Today, I had the opportunity to run a 5k with my kids. As the race started, the crowd of runners, in one huge mass began. Within moments, the very same crowd became a long line of runners, each finding their own pace and style of running. I thought to myself, "I wonder what it is like to be the winner?" I pondered for the first mile or so, how hundreds of people run, knowing there is only one winner. So, what keeps them all running? As I ran, I searched for my own answer. Towards the midde of the race, I began to get tired. Having run enough, I knew my body, and I knew this was the time to take some deep, oxygenating breaths, to put the pep back in my stride. This has also been paramount for me, during times of family change and challenge, to breathe and take time to energize my spirit. Whether that is a pedicure, or a quiet moment communicating with a higher power, when your steps begin to slow, breathe!
Into the next quarter of the race, I was tired. I wanted to stop and walk. I wanted to slow down. I really wanted to curl up with my favorite down blanket, right there on the side of road and give up! But, I knew myself enough to know that if I even slowed my pace, I would lose my momentum. So, I began to challenge myself to make it to the next garbage can, the next mailbox, the next tree, and step by step, I found myself getting closer and closer to the finish. It still seemed like I had so far to go. When families experience change and trial, often times our first reaction is that "down blanket," curled up on the side of the road of life. We are so tired, done or even BEAT! But it was exactly during these moments, after my husband left, that I would have to tell myself to just make it through breakfast. And, if I could make it through breakfast and clean it up, I could make it to lunch. And, if I could make it through lunch, I could surely make it through dinner, and that would mean I made it one more day. And, if I could make it a day, I could make it two days and soon a week, and maybe even a month, if I just kept my momentum and could keep going. Soon, the next mailbox and tree were not enough to keep me going. I felt as though my legs might collapse, but I had to keep running. My kids were watching. I finally answered the question for myself. Though I knew I was not going to win, I was running for my kids. I wanted to set a good example for them of finishing what you start. I wanted them to see that just because something is hard, doesn't mean you can't do it. And, I was running for myself. I was running to overcome my weakness. I was running to exercise the power deep within each of us. So, I began talking to myself. The first thing I said in shout that only I could hear, "Debbie Hirchak, don't you quit!" That is when I felt my inner stregnth take over and I was filled with physical energy and the desire to keep running, beyond what I had felt the entire race. Family Change is challenging. For some, there will be nothing more difficult. And, you will face those days when you realize you have to make it, for there are those relying on YOU. That no matter how empty, sad, lonely and challenging each day may be, there are others depending on YOU to keep running, and finish the race. The days right after my husband left, I would get up and get my kids off to school. Then, I would stand in the stillness and see my down blanket and want to curl up in ball with the cold realization that I was not winning. Then, I would see a picture of my kids, which are strategically placed in my house, and I could hear them cheer, "MOM, DON'T YOU QUIT!" Suddenly, I would feel the pep back in my stride and the motivation to keep running!! I would take some deep breaths, clean up breakfast, 5-minute-upstairs tidy, and off to work or school!
Finally, we reached the last quarter of the race and the finishline was in view. A couple more deep breaths, and I was off with a sprint. We are not all winners of the race we began. Our goals, careers and even our families may not turn out exactly like we wished or imagined or even worked for. So, why do we run? We run for our families. We run for our kids. We run for those who are depending on us. We run to set an example. We run for ourselves. We run to overcome! Perseverance equals power and progress! We run to overcome weakness, challenge and trial and in doing so----- we are all WINNERS of our own race! And, we run for those who have gone beyond-----who will welcome us at the ultimate finish line. All of whom, here and there, the reasons we run, are cheering us on, each day, louder than the bidding from the favorite down blanket----------- "DON'T YOU QUIT!"