The Hard Way

Have you ever had to learn things the hard way? Someone who is nice and perhaps a bit older and may know more about certain things than you do probably tried to share with you some wisdom about something you decided you wanted to do. Maybe they shared some precautions, some lessons they learned along the way, something that was helpful that someone told them. But what could they know anyway? They aren’t you in this exact moment with your skills and your knowledge and your chutzpah and your passion!!! Life is meant to go for it! So you did, and . . . you learned things the hard way. That maybe they were right, that maybe they DID have your best interests at heart, that maybe there are things to learn from those who have gone before us.

My latest is the decision to go for a run yesterday in the heat with some lingering plantar fasciitis still bothering my left heal. I’m having a few days away this week, and I decided I wanted to go for a run. Running helps clear my head, helps me gain perspective, helps me feel like there’s nothing I can’t do if I put my mind to it. I’m getting in better shape, probably not completely where I want to be quite yet, but when has that ever stopped me? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s hot. It’s hot in the midwest, it’s hot in the southwest, it’s hot in the northeast, it simply HOT. Not just a little uncomfortable, not just a bit of Indian summer left right before fall hits . . . IT’S HOTTTTTTT!!! I knew that before I started and I believed I started early enough that a little bit of heat would not be a big issue. You know it really hasn’t been that hot much of the summer. In fact, I said to a dear friend of mine recently, that I sorta felt like the shock of it being back to school time was that we hadn’t really had any truly world defining heat waves this summer and that’s so odd. Part of what that means is that some of us have not adapted to the heat index that’s happening now. Like me. I haven’t adapted. But when those meteorologists are busy telling everyone to be careful because of the heat indices they aren’t talking to me! I know my physical capacity and my toughness, and growing up in western Kansas in the outdoors toughens a person to an understanding of what they can do that others, like meteorologists in the comfort of television land don’t understand.

I got three miles out, I felt good, well, good sorta loosely defined. There was something going on with my stomach – kind of a nausea I didn’t expect. Those stupid mini-vanilla wafers I ate before bed last night. They may be mini on the outside but once they hit the inside, I think they grow into a solid brick that sits there, waiting for the temperature to go up on the outside so it can begin to melt and slosh around on the inside. Then there were those sour cream and onion Pringle’s chips that when I saw them on special in the grocery, I realized I hadn’t had Pringles in forever and since I’m away, if ever there was a time to have some sour cream and onion chips this would be it. Maybe that wasn’t the best idea on the night before I was going for a long run in the morning. At three miles I decided turning around was a great idea and perhaps also not a bad idea would be to lose some of the poor food choices made the night before.

Have you ever had to learn things the hard way? So the good news was that everyone else in the world REALIZED that going out for a run in these heat indices was not a great idea so there was no one else on the path, thank you Jesus. Although I did decide to sorta hide behind a tree just in case. Fertilizer comes in many different forms, sometimes a mix of mini vanilla wafers and sour cream and onion Pringles making their way back up the esophagus and out into the world. (this is why we publish the blog in the afternoons and not during a meal time. snort). My apologies for the graphic nature of my words this week.

I felt better, like you do sometimes when you release some things that have been building up inside you that haven’t really been sitting well. Sometimes that’s physically, other times emotionally or spiritually – there are simply things that are not always good for us that we need to let go. Folks who love us may tell us that . . . that it’s time for us to let go of that grudge, of that bitterness, of that feeling that somehow we haven’t measured up, haven’t fulfilled others expectations, haven’t somehow become all that we were supposed to be. Maybe we’ve held on to some stuff that isn’t exactly healthy for us because, unlike all those other people, we believe we can carry these burdens and they won’t affect us like they do other people who are not us. AND, perhaps it’s time to let go and admit that we aren’t necessarily stronger than anyone else, more capable of carrying other people’s burdens, more immune to the hurt and struggle and challenges of the world than anyone else. Part of the prescription is humility, and part of it is realizing that we are also loved and accepted in grace as is the rest of the world’s population. And the balance of humility and affirmation is the true journey of this life that we are all living together.

So I walked back. I tried jogging off and on and probably totaled about a half mile of the three that it took me to get back to the car. I finally admitted to myself, or rather my body yelled at my ego enough for me to hear, that beginning to get dizzy and my legs feeling like jelly was not proving anything to anyone, including me. So I walked. While it was still hot, it did allow me to notice a bit more of the beauty of the trees and bushes and wildflowers along the path that I missed on the way out because I was so busy trying to keep running, breathing, being in shape, and not die.

Some of us are gifted at having to learn things the hard way. I could blame my parents for that, it’s easier to imagine it is their fault, you know like my high blood pressure and my high cholesterol. *snort. But . . . I sorta have a feeling that one of the things I’m on this earth to learn is this lesson about not everything I do has to be the hard way. It tends to come up again, and again, and again. The lesson is there for me to receive as a gift and actually unwrap and receive it into my heart and soul as a blessing. The key is my willingness to live and accept the grace that I want so badly for everyone else. Ah, that’s the rub, isn’t it?

I survived my not so smart the meteorologists don’t know that I can run no matter what decision, had a rather healthy lunch, and found the wonderful new life that comes from rehydrating. Plus I decided that the celebration for survival and learning an important lesson once again, will be a dip or two of my favorite ice cream withOUT looking at the caloric content or the grams of sugar. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. That’s a blog for another day.

If you have a penchant for learning the things the hard way – maybe give yourself a break every now and then. Believe that God’s grace is for you as well. And maybe, just maybe, the wisdom of those around us who have lived and loved and laughed and cried and travelled the road before us may actually have gifts to offer that are beyond price. And all we may have to do is listen, receive with humility, and live!