There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s how I started to feel about my running this month. For the first time in about six months I logged a couple of runs at a sub-8-minute pace, on Cinco de Mayo I ran 5 miles, and my hamstring was able to handle a **PAIN FREE** 3.5 hour bus ride to help coach with UCCS at their conference track meet.
When I think about where I was less than four months ago–having my leg cut open for surgery and not even being able to sit for a month– it’s pretty crazy to see the 180 degree turn I’ve made in terms of where I’m at both mentally and physically. I’m not going to lie, during these last few months I went through some really dark times. Despite that, I tried to keep the faith, to trust that God had a plan in this, and that things really would get better. But there were certainly times I doubted; times I asked what the purpose of going through all of this pain could be.
One of my runs last week, I finally got a glimpse of an answer. *Pardon my use of poetry, must be the wanna-be-rapper inside of me that can’t help but think in rhymes sometimes…
I started out my run just chugging along, not feeling very strong, at first everything felt wrong. Then suddenly, some EMINEM song came on and I was gone. Something in the lyrics just hit me in the heart, sending me back to the days when everything was falling apart. Suddenly,it was as if I was no longer running, all I could hear was my heartbeat and the song I was humming. As I thought back on all that pain, and all of the strain it took just to attain this very moment, I felt a fire building up inside, and so I decided to go ahead and own it.
All that heartache and frustration, bottled up like carbonation, needed to be let out with every exhalation. I just wanted to run free, to finally feel like me, again. And not worry any more about “what could have been.” So without rhyme or reason, I picked up the pace, and I could feel my fists clenched and a grimace on my face. Could tell I was in a daze, my face probably looked crazed, but I was amazed how good I felt in that moment. All that pent-up emotion suddenly set into motion a blazing fire that could not be tamed by any notion. I was flying, I was free, my feet as light as could be. As if there was no gravity.
Before now, I was stuck running through a tunnel, stumbling in the dark of night, when suddenly in the distance I finally saw a light. At first it was subtle, and not very bright, but that little bit of light set my soul into flight. Then all of the sudden, it dawned on me; everything did have a purpose I was starting to see. What a blessing it actually is to experience life’s trials–for they give the greatest motivation during the toughest of miles. Those whose circumstances have been dire, have more fuel for the fire. The tears, blood and sweat you perspire, only make those flames burn higher.
Being injured does suck, but the way I see it, this can also be luck, if you choose to believe it. Only those who’s feet were once stuck in the muck, can appreciate getting back out of that rut. So I guess what I’m trying to say, is that when you feel lost in the dark, you’ll better appreciate the light when you see it, because the contrast will be that much more stark.
Well, if you’ve ever experienced the “runner’s high,” you understand where this is coming from. For a brief moment on that run, I felt unstoppable; I was on top of the world. I wish I could feel that “freaking amazing” on every run. I wish I could say the battle is over and I’m 100% pain-free (but I’m not), I wish I could see God’s plans for my future perfectly clear, rather than a distant light. But then I think about one of my favorite verses, Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” This verse reminds me that if I place my trust in God, I have all the light I need to take one step at a time, and that’s all that’s necessary.
So for those still stuck in the darkness, you have to trust that there’s a light ahead, even if you cannot see it yet. Faith and hope do not require evidence, nor are they based on circumstances; it’s a choice to place our trust in the hands of a higher power. During the toughest times of my injury, I’m thankful to look back at all the friends and family who supported me and shed positive light. I hope I can remember that as I move forward in my recovery–that there is always someone else out there struggling who is secretly crying out for comfort and light. So be that light.
Although I still have a long ways to go in terms of my comeback from surgery, the important thing is that I’ve finally seen the light. And as Blake Shelton would say, “it ain’t all that bright, but even though its subtle, its got me feelin’ alright.”