Brady and I went on a run tonight. There’s a lovely sidewalk/trail that stretches alongside the Rhine River all the way to the next town–Schaffhausen. Brady was a gentleman and always made sure to run on the street side of me so that he would be between the road vehicles and myself. Me, being self-conscious of my shorter legs, tried to set a good pace for the two of us. Alas, I’m afraid after about ten minutes of running, my thoughts were consumed with the achievement of each breath…and I had no extra energy to contribute to a pride of pace. Despite my struggling athleticism, over the course of our few short “walk breaks” we had good conversation. Approximately halfway back to Büsingen I commented that I have always felt the second half of a run seems to go by much faster than the first…then there was a long pause…so obviously I began rationalizing how my statement had profound philosophical implications for life as we know it.
I continued to contemplate aloud that perhaps why the second half of my runs goes so much faster is because I’m aware of the distance to my finish line. See, when I take off for a run without a destination in mind, I don’t know exactly how far I’ll go. At first this may seem more exhaustive, but I’ve found that it is in these moments when I experience the true fullness of a run: the trail, the sky, the wind, excitement about what’s around the next corner, etc. Eventually, when I decide to turn around I automatically change my mindset and begin calculating: where I’ll break on the way back, my stamina levels, if I’m halfway, two-thirds, or five-eighths done…just kidding…sort of. Over the course of the run, my brain unwillingly shifts from appreciative to analytical. I recognize that both have their pros and cons, but for simplicity’s sake, allow me to articulate how I applied these observations to my life’s story.
I speculated to my running buddy that since I’ve never had one “dream job” or specific “ladder” to climb, it’s kind of been like running through life with no certain destination. I realize this mentality isn’t the best method for a lot of people, but for me, it works. I’m able to soak in my environment rather than be distracted by deadlines or my relentlessly competitive mind. It helps me to be vs. looking ahead at where I will be. I believe that if I were career minded right now, I’d be reducing life down to timelines, formulas, and never pleased with my progress. Therefore, I’m delighted to say, at this time in my life I do not see the finish line…and that’s ok. Frankly, it saddens me to think that there are people out there today who are so consumed with their destination that they “forget they’re running next to the Rhine” (Franklin, 2012). If I knew all the answers, I suppose I’d be God. Not knowing makes Him that much bigger to me…and I’m loving it. I know this running revelation isn’t anywhere near flawless, but I hope these thoughts may resonate with you in some way. My prayer is that you take time to recognize the beauty of whatever “Rhine” you’re running next to.
Women’s Resident Director & Social Director