Tuesday, July 6, 2010

perfect imperfection

I did something I had never been able to do before in my entire life, something that has plagued me since elementary school. I ran a mile. In 13 minutes and 20 seconds. And let me tell you, minute 13 second 21 was one of the best moments of my entire life.

It was as if all those voices in my head, both my own and others', faded away in that instant. I could do it; I could do anything. I remember one time when I tried to run somebody telling me it was stupid and that I'd never make it. And I heard that voice on the treadmill, and I said screw you and ran right past it. And I could hear my own voice going "just quit, it's no big deal." But that was a lie, or as a dear friend of mine would say "a lie from the pit of hell." It was a big deal, a HUGE deal.

I spent years feeling like "the fat kid" and having a grandmother who loves me better when I'm thinner. (You think I'm kidding. I'm not.) Then I spent years with people who told me I was perfect just the way I was, even when I wanted to change and feel stronger and healthier. Neither is good, and I finally realized that no one but me could decide to make this change.

I feel like I've hit the point of perfect imperfection-the point of striving for something, seeing the goal, and at the same time, acknowledging that after that goal, there will be another goal to achieve. I feel like that's where God wants us somehow. Not despairing about our lowliness, our sinfullness, but not complacent and boastful, content to just do nothing. We are to give our best, and nothing less. One of my favorite hymns opens with the words "Come, labor on. Who dare stand idle on the harvest plane while all around us waves the golden grain. And to each servant does the master say 'Go work today.'" It is not a command, but a glorious invitation to work, to serve, to better ourselves and our communities, to celebrate our successes as they come...and not to let ourselves get overwhelmed by our all too human tendency to fall short.

The true success is to keep going, to persist in time of failure, and to cheerfully press on without allowing apathy to creep in during times of success. That said, I'm aiming to run it again in 12:45 since I'd already done a killer elliptical workout before I ran yesterday. Here's hoping I do it! If not, here's to a new goal!

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