Slow and Steady… Thoughts on how to approach life’s struggles
I ran what is called and “ultramarathon” this summer. For those of you wondering, a marathon is 26.2 miles long; an ultramarathon is any race longer than a marathon distance. The traditional next longest distance is fifty kilometers, or a “50k” race, usually run on trails versus running on roads or pavement. The distances increase along with the challenge; 50 miles, 100 kilometers, 100 miles, and even further; some lasting days on end, climbing mountains, fording rivers, facing brutal weather conditions, and more. I ran a 50k route this summer, using the Pacific Crest Trail just south of Mt. Hood as the course.
Running an ultramarathon is more challenging for a variety of reasons, but the biggest challenge happens far before ever stepping into the race itself. One of the greatest challenges that we as humans face is simply being able to envision what a successful outcome could look like.
Ten years ago, I started running with intentionality. I had been running casually since my teenage years, usually as a way to condition my body for other team sports. But now I ran as end unto itself. I ran my first 5k that year. A few years later I remember telling some friends that I had this crazy idea of running a half marathon distance (13.1 miles), but not being sure if I could achieve it. I also remember scoffing at my friend for merely suggesting I train for a full marathon one day (I’m not crazy!). And now, here we are.
So, what happened? To put it simply, whenever I confronted physical and mental challenges of running, I kept telling myself it’s as simple as putting one foot in front of the other—that, I can handle. “Slow and steady,” as they say. And little by little, year by year (not day by day), my body and mind transformed, strengthened, and discovered confidence that allowed for an ultramarathon to be run. I was able to envision a successful outcome.
I wonder if we could apply this same logic to each of our daily lives. Perhaps life will not change overnight for the better. But what if we took the approach of “Slow and Steady” when confronting life’s struggles? Would we be able to be patient enough to allow time and our efforts to create a vision for a successful outcome, whatever that may look like?
As we face these days of uncertainty, we have learned that even the most educated of professionals are not fortune tellers, nor can others simply wish things into existence. But maybe we don’t need others to tell us what our futures can look like? Maybe if we allow ourselves to go slow and steady, to put one foot in front of another, we can begin to envision our future of a brighter tomorrow together.
Rev. Jeff Binder is the Pastor at Valley Community Presbyterian Church. Visit us at: www.valleycommunity.org