It might surprise some people to know that I am smart. Lord knows I say a lot of stupid things, and I've done a whole lot of things that were even stupider. And I use the word stupider instead of saying "more stupid." And I use the phrases "all y'all" and "y'all all" like they aren't the two most redundant things that a person could string together. And I start sentences with conjunctions. But I don't care what all y'all say. Bless your hearts.
(Sorry, I was getting a bit off subject there...as any smart person would have done.)
I always performed very well in school, and hindsight has shown me that if I had applied the slightest bit of effort at all, (or showed up to more than 3 of my 8am classes,) I could have done even better. Even so, I have always figured that I would be successful. And I'm not saying that I feel unsuccessful now, but sometimes--just sometimes--I have to wonder if it is all because I just lucked out and happened to marry a really swell guy.
I don't work from a window office out of the top of a skyscraper. I don't travel on business. I don't work for a company that fills venues or hosts red carpet events. I don't save lives--or do research to save lives.
And I've been noticing lately that a whole lot of my Facebook friends do. Now I'm a smart person, so I understand that it is unhealthy for me to take such sharp notice of these things. But I am a person, so I do it anyway. And though I am genuinely happy for all of my friends and their success, I get a bit of an aching feeling sometimes like I am being passed up.
Which brings me to last week...
I was doing a short morning run on my usual trail and I had taken notice of a certain girl. She just looked like a serious runner. You know what I'm talking about. It was like her whole outfit looked fast or something; even her sunglasses. For the majority of the time, we were on opposite ends of the mile-long track, but with every lap she just kept inching closer and closer to me. Now running is something I enjoy, and I would even say something that I am pretty good at, but I know my limitations. Even so, I HATED the thought that the girl with the fast sunglasses was trying to pass me.
Eventually, the inevitable happened. I'm telling you, she bounded past me like a gazelle. Runners etiquette keeps you from looking back at the person you just passed, but she didn't have to. It was as if she was looking at me with her unnaturally neat ponytail bouncing along in time with her gazelle feet. It was taunting me.
For a while, I tried to keep her pace--not that it would prove anything. The girl had just half-mile-lapped me, after all. But it was as if the little voice in the back of my head was screaming, "Keep up with her. You're just as good as her."
And then all of a sudden, I got smart again.
I was already good. I didn't need to be "as good as." Watching her pass me, I had lost sight of why I run in the first place. Even more to the point, watching her had made me lose sight of myself.
Her pace is not my pace. Her body is not my body. Her health is not my health. Her purpose is not my purpose...and in trying to catch her, I had momentarily lost sight of mine.
I noticed that my legs were burning and I had run out of water. As I did my cool down and stretched out, I watched her run past me one more time. But this time, her ponytail looked an awful lot like mine.
Lord, teach me to run the good race. Thank you for making a path for me. And thank you for putting a really swell guy in it. Amen.