Marathon runners know all about the different phases of the run: the adrenalin of the beginning; the winding down and losing stamina; hitting the wall; finding something deep inside that makes you go on; the thrill and endorphins of endurance.
We can look at our entire lives like a marathon or we can break it down into the marathons that make up our life. Every life-changing event carries with it the stress of a marathon. We find ourselves in some sort of crisis and we suddenly come up with the adrenalin to conquer the task. Then the circumstances may find us weakening in our resolve and strength and thinking to ourselves maybe we should just call it a day and turn back. We continue on and hit the wall. There is no way we can possibly ever go on. This is the point at which some folks, myself include, consider alternatives: drinking, suicide, anything that will remove us from the race for even a little while.
Then, if we're lucky, we find that somewhere deep inside of us, we want to make it through. We want the knowledge that we were stronger than the circumstances drowning us. We find it--that little glimmer of hope and toughness that drive us on to finish the marathon. At that point, we realize it doesn't matter anymore if we come in first or last; it only matters that we finish and overcome.
And finally, the spoils of victory. It isn't a trophy or a kiss or a cash prize. It is something much more enduring. It is a quiet strength that we will be able to draw from in the next crisis. We can tell ourselves, and believe it, that if we made it through this, we can make it through the next and the next until our marathon is over.
There are a multitude of platitudes that accompany this and they may or may not diminish the thrill of victory.
My grandmother Shepherd once told me, "Becky Lyn, they may kill you, but they won't eat you, because you're too tough."
That one always made me laugh; but, believe me when I tell you, it has seen me through more than a few crises.
My mother always said, "Becky Lyn, the sun is gonna shine on your back door someday." And, in more recent years, "Becky Lyn, you need to lose your inner doormat and find your inner b!+<#."
Recently, I was particularly down and attended my Sunday church meetings because I knew it was where I needed to be (I'm choosing to run a marathon). I was facing the reality that I was once again without a home and it was wearing me down. (Why did I decide to run this stupid marathon?). Something happened and I began an uncontrollable cry--you know the kind--it starts as a small rumble in your toes and builds into a humiliating audible wail and everyone around you is wondering if they should call 911 and all you really want and would give anything for is a cloak of invisibility? I found myself being escorted into my bishop's office, sobbing and proclaiming, "I'm done. I don't think I want to live anymore. I don't have it in me anymore to fight the fight." (I can't do this anymore! It was a stupid idea. I never should have started. I'm leaving the race.) Questions were asked, assessments were made, plans were formulated, and a declaration of support was given. (Maybe there's something inside me that will help me go on. Remember that one marathon when you were homeless for over a year? You did that. You can do this.) I left, still red and puffy and sniffling, but resolute in my determination to see this race to the finish line . . . until the next crisis, at least.
I patterned the name of this blog from one of my favorites: Single Dad Laughing.
I, like so many others out there, am a Battered Woman Better. With the love and support of one another, we can run the marathons of life. Look around you and see all the marvelous stories of endurance there are. You will find women to pattern your life after. Women who have not only endured, but excelled over the uninvited events in their lives.