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…