Path of the Broken Runner
My feet hit the cold wooden floor
and I descend
stair after stair
with the grace of a zombie
A broken runner
I stagger along the path to gradual sunrise
sweat dripping, turning to ice
I plead for the heat
to take the chill from my bones
The sky gives me an understanding nod
but no help
by Christina Lynn Lambert
Why do we continue when the path we’ve chosen is hard and the experience has us wanting to drop to our knees and stay down?
Because we have to. What other choice is there? Give up? Quit? That’s easier to do in the beginning. When the end doesn’t mean that much. In the beginning of the struggle, should a person choose to take that path, the adrenaline and the dreams and hope are all still fresh. After life or circumstances deal a gut punch or shove us into the mud, there’s a breath for shock, a breath to recover from the outrage, and a breath to stand despite the pain. Resolve strengthens so we can pull the load, shoulder the burden, or push through the obstacles.
In the beginning, when the struggle is still new, cute memes, t shirts with catchy slogans, and a story of a friend of a friend who made it through to the other side- these things assure us that there’s a bright shiny chance of success.
After we’ve hit the ground a few times, the light dims. The stories of those who succeeded, beat cancer, published a book, made a million dollars, stopped drinking, got a promotion, found love, all seem so distant. The realization hits- chances and success aren’t a few miles and a few tries away. The struggle is no longer just about holding out until the finish line while we chant to ourselves “just a little more effort, just a little while longer,” because by then, we know we’re far from where we want to be. At this part of the trail, no one cheers from the sidelines. Everyone has gone home. No mile markers light up to assure us we’ve finished part of the journey. We just have to hope the path doesn’t kill us before we find its end.
Luck and opportunities aren’t always graced to those without great means. This is the path where success is not a given. And yet, there’s still a chance. Never forget there’s still a chance.