“Don’t cry, Hula. Don’t cry,” I kept telling myself as I pounded the pavement for my lunchtime run yesterday. I started off fast and kept moving, intent on finishing quickly. It had been a hectic morning, and the afternoon appeared headed in the same direction. The tears I kept pushing back were for all the frustrations that came with a difficult couple of weeks. The sound of my feet drummed in my ears, thud, thud, thud, mirroring the beat of my broken heart and the onslaut of thoughts in my head. “Damn it,” I whispered under my breath. “I feel like running away.”
I’m often surprised at how running is an apt metaphor for my life. Padding down the city streets is good thinking time, sometimes too much thinking time. It allows me to work through problems, prioritize stuff and even write blog posts. Navigating cracks and curbs, traffic and the weather, dogs and dog crap makes me analyze how I deal with the cracks and crap that creep up on me in daily life. Yesterday was no different, and my feet felt very heavy, almost as heavy as my heart. I felt like I was in a hurry to nowhere and driving on an empty tank of gas. I was so tired, not physically tired but mentally tired. My breathing was fine, and I could have kept pumping along but knew when the tears started to well, I needed to slow down. I considered stopping altogether to sit on the curb and meditate, but I was afraid I’d fall apart, and I didn’t want to fall apart. I wasn’t ready to wallow. But I wasn’t willing to race either.
The last two weeks have been difficult at best. I’m the problem solver in the family, and normally, I’m okay with that. It strokes my ego to be the one everyone looks to for a solution and I like control. I’m not proud of that, but it’s true. However, I’m out of solutions these days. Every family member, friend, fellow committee member and customer has wanted me to fix something lately. I want to be able to fix it for them, but I’ve come to learn that I just can’t fix everything. More importantly, I can’t fix people. And that’s the thing that’s hurting my heart. Blogging specifics would cause harm and pain for others, so I will refrain from saying anything other than someone close to my heart is at a very difficult crossroads with no easy road ahead. For a while, I labored under the delusion that if I just worked hard enough, I could “fix” the situation. Only recently did I realize that in the end, I don’t have any control over the situation. This person has to “fix it” himself, and he may not make the decisions I want him to. It is not my choice, and it is not my job. His decisions may cause pain, and I can do nothing about that. I can’t stop this situation from hurting people I love, and I can’t stop it from hurting me. Damn.
I walked several blocks yesterday, tripping once over a big crack and noting the irony of that. I didn’t fall, and I didn’t cry. I simply kept putting one foot in front of the other, telling myself over and over to just keep plowing through. To just keep a steady pace and to breathe deeply. It helped, a little. As I arrived back at work I realized that at some point this run will be over, I may not win and I will have accept that. In the meantime, all I can do is pray and hope the good Lord keeps me from sitting down on the curb and falling apart. “Don’t cry, Hula. Don’t cry.”
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