Ed Sheeran is one of my favorite artists. Lately I’ve been obsessed with his song, “Thinking Out Loud.” I love this song for the adorable love song that it is, but every time I hear it I can’t help but think about how it relates to my running, or lack thereof.
“When your legs don’t work like they used to before…”
Truth is, my legs don’t work like they used to before, and it sucks. Of course it could be worse, and I thank God everyday for the fact I even have these legs, but at the end of the day, it’s still hard to accept that I’m still injured.
When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way, mm
I know you will still love me the same
This part especially hits me, as he sings about his identity, his career, his livelihood; telling her that when all of this is gone, he knows she’ll still love him the same. When I compare this to my running, my career, and my livelihood, I can’t help but contemplate what it would be like to lose it all.
I’m coming up on three years now since 2014, the last track season when I was healthy and able to race. Dealing with chronic high hamstring tendinosis/hamstring syndrome, labral tear surgery, and now a stubborn neuroma in my foot, would probably be enough for most people to call it quits. Yet for me, I’ve never thought of quitting as a realistic option.
That’s not to say I don’t think about what it would be like to end it all, to stop trying, give up, and move on. I suppose eventually we all hit that point in our careers; when our legs don’t work, when our hands don’t play the strings the same way…
Sometimes I do wonder, what if I lost it all? Who would still love me the same? Or perhaps the more looming question, could I go on living life just the same?
The same questions must be asked of anyone struggling with a loss of some kind. Whether it be the loss of your voice, your memory, the use of a leg, or a loved one. I’m not trying to say that dealing with my injury is equivalent to some of these other kinds of loss, but on some level we all experience loss in life. That’s simply inevitable. How we deal with it, however, is up to us. The big question is how do we manage to love life just the same?
Recently a friend came across the following quote on Twitter,
“God will never take anything away from you without giving you something so much better.”
At first glance, it seem like the perfect quote to answer how to handle loss. But then my friend shared a comment someone had added to their Re-tweet…“What about amputees?”
I suppose it’s undeniable that there are some kinds of loss in life that no matter what, there isn’t quite a direct replacement for. And while I’m not trying to compare my injured leg to the loss felt by an amputee, I think there’s a good lesson to be learned here. I believe that God does give us great blessings, and God does allow things to be taken away, but I believe never out of anger, but out of love.
This verse brings me comfort, that no matter what kind of loss I may experience, God is at work; weaving my suffering, my loss, my good and my bad experiences together to lead to a greater good–a greater purpose.
Of course, that may not always feel comforting in the moment. Being sidelined from running once again these last three weeks has me literally wanting to punch a hole in the wall. But despite the ups and downs in my emotions, as I listen again to Ed Sheeran’s lyrics, I’m reminded of one more promise, “I know that you will still love me the same.” Despite the loss we experience in life, it’s comforting to know that no matter what, God will still love us the same. And that is huge.
It’s not easy, but I keep reminding myself that my identity is not in what I do, but what I believe. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” -Ephesians 2:8. Knowing that God’s love is a gift that can’t be earned is the heart of the Gospel. Even when we’re unable to live up to our own expectations, or others expectations, God is still smiling down on us.
And then there’s the final verse of “Thinking Out Loud,”
“We found love right where we are.”
Perhaps the key to all of this is learning to love life right where we are. Right now, I can’t say that my circumstances are what I had hoped. I’d love to think I’ll be back out there racing next Spring, and I’ll do everything in my power to get this hamstring and foot back to full health. But more importantly, I want to be able to put all circumstances aside and love life just the way it is. There are so many people in my life like my husband, family, coach, and friends who keep on loving me just the same, whether I’m able to run right now or not, and I can’t thank these people enough for putting up with me. 😛
So here’s to giving it up to God, and trusting that everything is a part of his good, pleasing and perfect will¹, and to finding love right where I am.