The plan all week had been to repeat last week’s feat of running to the top of Echo Mountain, but I woke up last Sunday morning, groggy, a bit dehydrated maybe, with a slight headache, and it was cloudy – perhaps about to rain?? Should I bag it, stay home in bed, reading and drinking coffee, meditating, getting around finally to that long-awaited face mask? But I had made a promise to myself, so I felt compelled to follow through on my resolve. Once at the trailhead, I fumbled around with my iPod, trying to find the perfect mood music for the ascent – something upbeat, high-powered and fast, as I needed as much motivation as I could get – African High Life!
Those first foot falls were painful on many levels, including the left “bad toe” that inevitably kicks in when I forget to shave down the callous that constantly forms and reforms on it. My breath was short, my heart already pounding, as the climb began from the moment I got out of the car! God’s little reminder – acceptance, we’re not interested in anything even resembling perfection here, this is about the path toward your best self – the journey-with-no-destination!
In addition to the physical discomfort, every time I looked at the path ahead I was overwhelmed – how would I ever get there, would I make it? I just re-focused my attention on the next step, nothing more than the very next step. Then it occurred to me that this uphill run was a metaphor: The climb is relentless, but I’ll only make it worse if I think ahead to what’s coming, how long it will take, when will it be over, why is it so hard, so painful, so unrelenting…. Better to turn it all over to my Higher Power, one day, in this case, one footstep at a time, being present to all that is around me, enjoying the scenery, not looking too far ahead, trusting that my Higher Power will get me there in Her time, not mine! Just like my recovery – one moment, one thought, one meal, one day at a time! I also noticed on the trail that there were people way ahead of me, and others behind me; we were a constant stream of humanity, each on their own path of discovery, each moving at their own pace. I realized that I didn’t have a problem with this, and that I wasn’t angry or annoyed that everyone wasn’t running right along with me the whole time.
A MIRACULOUS OUTCOME
Well, I made it to the top, savoring the African rhythms emanating from my iPod, and (after a celebratory pee!), I looked out in awe at the landscape unfolding below me. It was miraculous – I could never have done it alone – I was much too weak, defeated, desperate. Alone, I kept slipping back into the fear that I didn’t have what it took to get there, but my Higher Power got me to the top, when I remembered each and every time to just turn over the outcome!
MY GOD IS A TENOR