I finished this little piece for the Friend magazine last week. The article recounts the author's trip to Africa where he noticed the giraffes avoiding a muddy waterhole. The guide said it was because of the crocodiles. He looked but could not see any. Later from a higher vantage point, the mud covered crocodiles could clearly be seen as they laid in wait for an unsuspecting victim. Life has a lot of snares, some we cannot predict and some of our own making. That was the thought in my head as I laced up my running shoes this morning.
So, I was thinking, which tends to happen a lot when I am too tired to talk with my wife as we battle the miles and fatigue. In this contemplative state, or possibly just a state of exhaustion, we passed another jogger running the other direction just as we rounded a corner and started up a mild hill. She called out a "good job for running the hills!" I jokingly responded that it was uphill both ways. As I worked my way to the top of the rise, I got to thinking how true that statement really is.
Life runs uphill both ways. The trick is learning to run the hills.
We often times lament life's challenges, wishing that somehow life were easier or that if only such and such would happen, things would be better. Well, news flash, everyone has challenges. I just think that some people are better at taking the obstacle in front of them and overcoming it. People I admire seem to somehow transform tough things it into a positive. Just because I am not where I want to be in this regard, doesn't keep me from trying though. I have come a long way from where I was, but it's still an uphill battle. For example, I don't get as upset or stressed as I once did when stuff happens, because I have realized that stuff happens to everyone. I don't get as jealous of other's success as I once did, I try to be genuinely happy for them because celebrating another's success doesn't diminish my own success or my self worth. I try not to compare my work or situation to someone else's because they deserved whatever they have worked for. Good for them. My work is mine. If I want it to be better, I need to keep working. I try not to be disappointed when something doesn't go my way or slide my way in to wallow in the mire of self pity (at least not for long). It can be hard sometimes, but I think all of the above are things that trap us. In a sense, they are like the crocodiles in the mud. They wait for you to wander too close. You can't get eaten by a crocodile if you don't wallow in the mud.
I'm still learning to run those hills. They still feel uphill both ways, but I'm getting better at staying on the path rather than in the mud. And running those hills.