Finishing the Race

About nine months ago I started running a marathon. I’ve run several marathons and never had any problems. There was no indication that there would be any problems this time either. I was looking forward to it because it had been a few years since my last one. I was also planning to enjoy it because it was probably going to be my last one.

A few months into it I fell. I must have hit a loose stone but when I looked back I couldn’t see one. All I knew was that my ankle was sprained. The other runners were passing me by. I knew I had lost the race.

The problem was that this was a one-way marathon. I couldn’t go back to the starting line. I could only go forward, limping and in pain. I still had a little under six months to go.

There were times I sat down by the side of the road, watching a few runners confidently go past. Some of them bore scars from past marathons and gave some kind words of encouragement. Some of them were on their first race and didn’t want to look at me too closely unless they too fell. Eventually I would get up and keep moving toward the finish line.

I wished I didn’t have to finish the race. I wished I could just stop, but that was impossible. The road stretched out in front of me. The months and miles slid past. My ankle would hurt sometimes so badly I had to sit down and rest. Now I only wanted to get to the end.

I can almost see the line now. It’s only a week away. The other runners in front of me won, but I’m realizing there is a certain dignity in reaching the end, even without the prize. My ankle still hurts, but after the race I can rest it and it will get better. There will always be a scar, but the pain won’t be so bad.

This marathon will always exist in time, but there will be a relief in not having to be running it anymore. Only God knows if there are any more marathons in my future. We never know until we hear the starting gun.

Only one more week…

11 thoughts on “Finishing the Race

  1. I too have run that marathon and fallen. I don't know why, but the grief at the due date was so so so much stronger than at the point I fell. I don't know if I have ever cried that hard in my adult life. It was probably 10 years ago and i still have tears when i think of it.

    But know that you do not run or sit alone. As you hobble towards the finish line there is One who goes with you. He has been to the darkest of dark places and brought light, so he will be able to carry you.

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  2. Well, I have to hope that the grief next week won't be stronger than the grief I experienced at the outset – it might tear me apart. I remember crying so hard I scared myself but simultaneously realizing that while I could cry until I turned inside out, he wasn't coming back. I'm just looking forward to the time when I can't remember that I would be this many weeks pregnant right now. Father likened it to a shadow stretching from March 31st to September 30th. I'm looking forward to getting out of the shadow.

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  3. At the outset it was the grief plus the shock. I hope that having weathered the first storm, and now knowing what lies ahead, you will journey through into the sunshine. Lord have mercy.

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  4. I'm awaiting at the finish line – also having no price (unless you count the gravestone? ;-)). Changed, as if I and God had spent the last 6 months laying down a mosaic of the life that was shattered. Very complete, very beautiful – and very different.

    I feared the day. And then it was here. No tears. Just a sad heart and thankful for the grace of sun on his stone. It never got worse. The worst had already happened. The loss has become a part of me – I just didn't see when it happened.

    Love

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  5. Thinking of you, M. Anna. I found a lot of peace on my due date. It felt very much like finishing a race, and finally feeling like my baby was where he was supposed to be. I hope you find that peace, too.

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  6. I hurt along with you, differently, yet similarly, as the due dates of my own two lost babies are this month and next. We don't forget, do we? And we shouldn't. These babies memories live on, even though our arms are empty. Remembering you and Innocent in my prayers this week particularly. *hug*

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