I’ve just finished the spiritual equivalent of a triathlon.
It’s funny. We tend to compartmentalize our lives, categorizing certain events as affairs of the heart, while labeling others merely material, divorcing the passion from the practical. But if we really look closely, it’s not that cut-and-dried.
Over the past several years, my new husband and I met, went our separate ways for a few years – both letting go of old careers and embracing new ones – reunited, married, blended families. Well, you get the picture. It has been a non-stop emotional equivalent of a funeral at the circus, the letting-go and the joy all jumbled together. Not once during all these many changes have I been able to stop and say, “Gee, this is a purely spiritual problem. I’ll just pray about it, the light will dawn, and I will be saved.” Or, “Wow, okay, if I just do this step and take that action, the practical result I want will fall into place.”
No, it’s been an athletic event in which we have had to exert a lot of muscle, display a little stamina, get up early in the morning and stay up late at night, say our prayers, do our rituals, watch our thinking and continually set the intention to stay in the race, especially when hitting the wall with discouragement or exhaustion.
I love following the antics of my Facebook friend Melissa, a single mother, business owner and kick-butt runner. I’m fascinated by her tales of ramping-up for each race, the pain of training in the cold and the wet, the camaraderie with her fellow runners, the celebration of victories and the humble acknowledgments of failure, the full-on commitment to her sport and the brave insistence on taking care of herself. Most recently she has helped me understand why today, this week, I am so tired.
Because I should be.
That triathlon I mentioned? We just sold my husband’s cherished dream house, a 108 year-old 4-story beauty that he has lovingly care-taken for over a decade. Long before I came on the scene, he entered this home full of bright dreams for his daughter’s and his own futures. Those dreams have materialized, even if not exactly in the way he envisioned them on that lovely summer day when he fell in love with this home and saw a new life ahead. Now a new dream is emerging, a shared dream, with less stuff, more mobility and exciting far-away adventures. And the packing, dumpstering, sorting and winnowing is hard work of the spiritual and material kind.
So this week, I am following Melissa’s advice to slow down and recuperate after the race. My body and spirit are tired and the most honorable thing to do is to recover. So I sit. Drink green juice. Relax. Sleep-in. Ponder. Watch the relentless rain. Dream.
The next finish line is just around the bend.