In this day and age it is very easy to be too hard on ourselves. Each day, there are issues and concerns that exist in our periphery awaiting their opportunity to consume us. The familiar cast of characters include concerns about our jobs, our future, the future of our children, our finances, relationship issues and a whole host of very specific concerns that feel uniquely yours. When they close in on you it is very easy to feel alone, isolated and desperate. Being that there tends to be this near constant battle between ourselves and these demons we have become very skilled at masking the feelings these things illicit. We walk down the street and try very hard to look happy and productive…like everyone else. And we fool everyone, including ourselves.
One of the reasons that running has filled me with such passion is that when you are in the midst of the physical pain it becomes impossible to maintain the façade that masks our fears worries and inhibitions. I know that to many who might read this, this concept sounds strange. Why would we want to confront our demons? What purpose does it serve to let these tormentors see the light of day and engage them in battle?
During my long run this last Sunday, as I waged war with my body, the elements and my mind, I came to the realization that despite the laundry list of failures I can attribute to my poor choices which include failures as a father, a husband, a son, a brother and a citizen of this lucid and wondrous nightmare that we desperately cling to each day; that my past transgressions did not matter in that moment. I found myself drifting into a place of sheer euphoria, all around me the world seemed to moving very deliberately. The sun was setting bringing me relief from the 90 degree heat. The horizon opened up before me and beckoned me toward it promising absolution in the form of an embrace of a dear friend. I felt for many moments relief from the despair that is resulted from consummating ourselves with our worries. My whole body tingled as the realization hit me that I have the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and be a better father, be a better husband, a better son, a better brother…and a better example.
Then I thought about my daughters, and felt confident that someday I would be worthy enough to be called their hero!!!