Thursday, October 13, 2011

Learning to Walk Again

The most difficult point in my distance runs is when I've hit my targeted distance, and I stop running.  It is uncomfortable, awkward and slightly painful.  My legs become so accustomed to running, the repetitive motion of it, that they want to continue.  They could go on and on for miles.  Yet I've reached the end of my run, and I force them to slow down, and change their movement.   My legs don't  like it at all.  You'd think after all the exertion they've put out they would be content and give in to the easier exercise.  But that is not the case.  They fight it; they resist it.  In this moment walking feels very foreign, and it takes a tremendous amount of energy to just maintain a normal step.  After a short while though, my legs have adjusted and walking becomes the new norm.  My legs are comfortable because my muscles have adjusted.  I could walk on forever.

This is life.  You are running along, pursuing life, enjoying the view, and achieving goals.   You're trudging along just fine; everything feels normal and comfortable.  All your muscles and bones are working in harmony, towards a common purpose. Then all of a sudden life stops.  When tragedy occurs you stop running.  In that moment everything changes.  Perhaps its the loss of a spouse, or even a loved one.  Maybe its a job loss, marital struggles, or another significant strain on your life.  Its that moment when you transition from running to walking.  And its awkward.  It hurts.  It doesn't feel right or natural in any way.  The everyday task of walking now is a strain. It requires effort: more energy and thought than it ever did before.

When my husband died it changed my life in more ways than I could ever imagine.  I distinctly remember in the days following his death not being able to find my car in the parking lot, twice in one day.  This was not normal for me. I have a great sense of direction.  But as I walked out of the store I was frozen.  I couldn't even remember which side of the lot I had parked on.  I was in a fog.  A normal everyday activity was suddenly strange and awkward.  Another odd thing I noticed was I would lose my train of thought, right in the middle of a story or a point.  The thought would vanish and I would have absolutely no idea what I was talking about or where I was headed.  Again another seemingly simple task became difficult to complete.

I had to force myself to walk in many areas of my life.  The things which were simple, easy and part of every day life now became a task which required effort.  It took thought and discipline to make my legs move in such a way as to walk, not run as before.  And as the time passed it became much more comfortable.  I adjusted to the new movements of my life: being home alone, running a business, putting my son to bed by myself, and being on my own.  I am now realizing that I am walking again, and it is no longer awkward.  In fact its starting to feel normal.  As if I'd always walked like this, and could continue walking on like this for miles.

I know that some day I will again run! But until that day comes, I am taking each step as it comes.  Enjoying the sights and sounds on the path along the way.  My head is held high, and I'm looking expectantly towards my future!

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