A pair of trainers to run the earth,
With people I hold dear;
A pair of sunglasses to watch the sky
As the day is drawing near,
A prayer in my pocket, the Word in my heart
And love to tell me why —
These are the things that I must keep close
And all I need to get by.
It was in 2009 when I wrote the above “manifesto”. I was ready to take on the world. I was single. I was smart. I was strong.
It’s 2018. I am not that young anymore. I am married. I have a loving husband. I have the sweetest daughter.
I still have people I hold dear, sunglasses to watch the sky… And the prayer in my pocket is still there, and the Word, it still burns my heart.
But I am not as strong as before. And my trainers, well, I use them for walking now. No more running like a girl.
In fact, I cannot jog. I cannot jump. I cannot run. Those have been the restrictions emplaced upon my person by a doctor who has studied my spine.
I was talking about my condition to a woman who’s out to conquer the world (like I was in 2009). She expressed her surprise. The health buff in her couldn’t see how anyone can still be okay.
The feeling I had when the doctor told the news was nothing close to sadness. Instead, it was gratitude, and a little bit of uncertainty — but not sadness. The medicine for whatever heaviness I was feeling then was a vivid memory of happy days under the sun.
I remembered my childhood. Climbing trees, wading through rocky rivers, hiking steep terrains, and catching grey tadpoles with my sisters and friends — life was an adventure when I was in the outdoors!
And though I can’t jog, jump, run, I can cook. I can prepare a good meal for my family. I can encourage my husband. I can read to my daughter and sing a lullaby.
I can work with my hands (though there’s a challenge there, sometimes, due to referred pain), but that’s not frequent, yet.
And I can type on this keyboard. I can write letters, verses, songs. My lips can shout or whisper a hymn for my Creator who does all things well. I can help someone in need. I can pray for them. I can serve the Lord where He leads. How can I complain?
My manifesto may have been changed in the running part, but it is a change that is welcome. If anything, I’d say that my life now is slower, and there is time to “smell the roses”. I am looking back with gratitude, and looking ahead with hope in the Lord — come what may.
Come to think of it, the Turtle won the race! The Hare was running, but was distracted. But yes, the Turtle —- what an encouragement from Aesop! Slowly, but surely, that’s it. But Solomon had already thought of it in Ecclesiastes 9:11 long before Aesop did:
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to me of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Now what happens to my manifesto? It still holds. Walking is my new running. And now, by God’s grace, here I am! I am loving my life for what has been given, and what has been taken away.
The walkathon continues and the finish line is still ever before me, calling out to me — “Run with patience! Don’t give up!”
(KJV) Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? For thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
(NASB) Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.