Lessons from the Road #2

Last fall I ran a race for the first time since before Meadow was born. Actually, I think the last race I ran before that was a half-marathon when Charlie was 4 and Chanelle was 2. At that time, life was different. My Mom was still alive. I was a therapist. We weren’t outnumbered by children. We lived in a different town. The thought of writing in a blog terrified me. In a way, we were different people. In the midst of growing babies and businesses, signing up for races took a backseat. Or, lets face it, race sign up was still hanging out in the white Ford Probe that I drove in high school–no where on the horizon. The running never stopped, but the standing at the starting line with other runners and crossing a finish line as a clock ticked the seconds, was nothing that crossed my mind. It didn’t cross my mind, that is, until my brother asked me if I wanted to join him in a race last fall. (I am incapable of saying no to my brother.)

The race was fun and there may have been a stirring, a distant remembrance, of why I loved joining other runners for a race–but that’s another story. While at the race, I ran into a former high school cross country teammate. While we didn’t get a chance to talk much, she made a comment that has stuck with me. After the race was over and cool downs had been run she made the statement, you still have the ability to make running fast look so easy. 

I’ve thought about her statement often over the last several months. I’ve thought about how the view from the outside looking in is typically only a partial glimpse. It’s like reading the final chapter of a thick novel or watching the last five minutes of the documentary of a hero or only seeing the end product of an artists finest creation.

You make it look so easy. . . 

I know my former teammate knows that there is nothing easy about running, but still it got me thinking. A closer examination might expose the hamstring injury I’ve struggled with for years and the way my leg fights against every step I take. Or, one might see the way my muscles burn at the shock of really running hard again. Or, even more, a close look would reveal the way my mind is constantly questioning, evaluating, and doubting every move I make.

Appearances can be deceiving.

It’s funny how often I’ve heard my former teammates words echo in my mind since that chilly November day.  As I take in the world around me, I see how easily I can fall into the trap of believing that it looks so easy.

Look at her manage her children. . . she makes it look so easy.
Look at her run her business. . . she makes it look so easy.
Look at the way she balances her work and her family. . . she makes it look so easy.
Look how she knows exactly where she’s going. . . it’s so easy for her.
Look at how beautifully she maintains her home. . . she makes it look so easy.
Look at how she is so grounded in who she is. . . it’s so easy for her.

I could go on, but you get the point. One of my favorite “Dadism’s” (things my dad has said (over and over again)) is ‘the pros make it look easy.’

Just because something looks easy, doesn’t mean that it is. Jumping into a documentary during the last five minutes disregards all the hard work depicted in the first hour and a half. Reading the final chapter of a book negates the trials and tribulations that occurred during the first 23 chapters. And seeing only the final reveal of an artists creation ignores all the multitude of canvas’ that were tossed aside–unfit for public consumption.

The statement of my former teammate reminded me that just because something looks easy, doesn’t mean that it is easy. I am reminded that behind any success there is more blood, sweat, and tears than I can imagine. Behind the successes are always sacrifices, choices, and hard work that is often looked passed in the “glory moment”.

My dad says, “The pros make it look easy”. He doesn’t say, “It’s easy for the pros.”

We are all on a journey. Working so hard to live each day. Doing the best we can to do whatever work we are called to do. Finding our path. Some days are filled with the glory of success, but more than not, days are filled with quiet working, searching, sweating, trying, failing, tossing aside canvas’, delete buttons, starting all over again, and endless hard choices. My friends statement reminds me to have grace with those around me. To see beyond the surface and to understand that all of us are in this together, doing the best we can.

Just because it looks easy, doesn’t mean that it is. And just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth doing.


Grace & Peace, Friends.