I missed the point. I thought I knew what the point was, but it turns out I was a bit off. I mean, maybe a little right, but mostly mistaken.
I published a blog yesterday about overcoming setbacks, diligent sacrifice and hard work being the route to success in growing, even if it’s slowly. It was a blog about discipline and failure being holy. It was about a friend who recently ran the Boston Marathon. You can read it here (http://flatironswomen.blogspot.com/2017/06/my-life-didnt-turn-out-way-i-thought-it.html).
I thought the point was “we become better when we fail and keep trying” because every time I thought about my marathoner-friend’s story (working tirelessly to qualify for 6 years and 14,000 miles), I thought about it from my perspective: as someone who is terrified of failing, who hates running, and easily sees only the work and the goal, but has a hard time seeing the joy of the middle. I saw his story as a Rudy-type of story. A story like BraveHeart, riddled with pain and injury. Every run a beating. Every run wrenching his gut. His motivation the idea of being on the big stage he saw growing up… But after he read the blog, he said something, and I realized that his story is maybe a little bit of a Rudy story, but apparently, he’s more like Forest Gump; he just feels like running.
He said, “What you left out, and it’s probably quite important, is that I love running. If I had spent all of those runs in misery and not made the marathon, the time spent doing all of it would’ve been a complete waste. But instead I love the process. I love the feeling I get during and after running. I love the people with whom I run. I love the places it takes me and the animals I see along the way. I love how it clears my head and swaps cortisol for adrenaline. I love the simplicity of running, the quiet time… all of it. And while you’re spot on about perseverance and commitment and not letting setbacks stop me, you have to remember that it was a labor of love more than anything else, and I’ve enjoyed nearly every step.”
Well, shoot. I saw it differently. Because historically, when I fail, I quit. When it’s hard, I give up. When I realize it’s going to take me six-dedicated-every-day-years to accomplish something, I say, “peace out.”
But when you look at it like Forest Gump, you just run. You just do it because you love it.
When I think about all of the struggles, all of the ways my life has turned out differently than I thought it would, just yesterday, I thought I needed more discipline. I thought I needed more persistence. I thought I just needed to stop giving up. I thought I just needed to be selfless and sacrifice. And it’s true. I do, need to do those things but the way to get there isn’t to “just have more discipline.” The answer isn’t “just be less selfish.” The answer isn’t “just persist.”
The answer is more love. Extravagant, lavishing, heaping scoops of love for my children, my husband, my writing process, my people. Enormous, gigantic, over the moon love for these endeavors I am pursuing… raising my children well, looking at their mistakes and shortcomings and lack of motivation with love, giant all-consuming, never-ending, unconditional love, love, love. Because…
Love transcends failure. Love transcends injury. Love transcends setbacks and interruptions and not being able to do what you want to do. Love pushes us to move forward, press on, forgive. Love means we catch handfuls of bodily fluids coming out of our children without batting an eyelash. Love convinces us to volunteer for sacrifice over and over again. Just like Jesus.