No Guarantee

A text message this weekend:

How’s your healing?

The message, from a friend with whom my path crossed during a short stay in Minnesota a lifetime ago, is like many I’ve received recently. Friends and family checking in to see how I’m healing (great!), how I’m navigating crutches (old hat!), and if I’ve lost my mind sitting so much (absolutely!).

After the initial question, though, the conversation with my friend deviates from many others I’ve had this week.

How’s your healing?

I answer his question and finish with the same answer I’ve given others, hopefully it will get me running again.

His response comes swiftly and succinctly,

Um.
About that.
You need to listen.

I listen, I tell him and attempt to lighten the mood, I just don’t always follow through.

He ignores my attempt and responds without hesitation, Then you’re not listening.

My friend continues.

It’s not about running.
There is no guarantee.

I read his words and a lump immediately forms in my throat and tears spring to my eyes. For several moments, I stare at his words and fight the urge to scream in text. (You know, use all capital letters and an obnoxious amount of exclamation marks.) My instinct is to be defensive. I consider a response–how can you say such things? I’m a runner! All of this is about running! All of this has been about running!

My thumbs linger over letters as I breathe in and breathe out and swallow back the lump in my throat. His words, momentarily shocking me into silence.

A short conversation ensues. I share words. He shares words.

Gently. Honestly.

In the end, I know I am handed a gift in my friends words.

I was handed truth: It’s not about running.
I was handed wisdom: There is no guarantee.

As our brief conversation closes, I thank him. I thank my friend for speaking truth. For challenging me. For saying hard things–words I don’t want to hear, but words I need to hear.

*******

There are no guarantees, I know this. And yet, I am bent toward optimism. The silver lining is easy to find. The glass? More than not, it’s half full. Hand me lemons, I’ll gladly make lemonade.

Optimism is different than truth, though.

Optimism is different than wisdom.

*******

This morning I find a treasure buried in a book:

Our days of pain are the building blocks of our character.

And more:

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are–no more, no less.

*******

It’s not about running, my friend tells me.

Maybe he’s right.




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