“…I will not let thee go, unless thou bless me…”
The other day, I was running up a hill trying to catch a bus, pushing my son in a stroller and carrying all the knick-knacks one needs for a day at the zoo. I really wanted to catch that bus so I was running as fast as I could (read: slowly). The driver started to pull away and I used my last ounce of strength to charge ahead enough to catch the driver’s attention and we made it on. Someone on the bus clapped for us, my son kept drinking from my water bottle so I had to use his little monster truck water bottle, and we made it home eventually.
All great, except that that run really tired me out. Yes, it was uphill, yes my crocs didn’t help, yes that stroller isn’t nice for running with…but still, I didn’t think that run should have been so tiring. This was doubly concerning because of an obstacle race I have coming up soon: would I be ready for 10 miles if I couldn’t do 1/4 mile?
How often have I been in a situation like this before? Something doesn’t go well – a conversation, a workout, an engagement with a client or employer – and it casts a pall over any future prospects. That slowly settling darkness sabotages every future engagement, until I’m convinced I’m a failure at ______.
But what if I approached these situations with the grim tenacity of Jacob, wrestling with an angel? The foundation of his strength – or rather, his limited sense of strength founded on human power – had been taken away, and he could have given up. But he said, “Stay! Bless me!” He wanted to keep striving to see the good, the excellence, the power inherent in God’s creation – the excellence he expressed as God’s creation. And indeed, he was blessed.
It wasn’t just continuing to strive, though. It was striving coupled with the expectation of good. Not just, ‘here we go again.’ It was, ‘Go!’
So I examined my own thought. I saw that the fear and annoyance and dullness hiding in the background was that I should just face up to the fact that running is tough and every run would be miserable so I ought to stay home until I felt better.
So instead I went for a run.
No, not a huge big one, just a nice windy trail which I really appreciate because it’s so well maintained and so diverse and beautiful. And it was great. I was even a little faster than the last time I ran this trail. During the run I also had some lovely new ideas about my community and ways to engage professionally and socially, and I came home excited to keep seeing the good – the blessing – unfold.
Nothing can stop us from striving to see and truly know the good and the blessing that is ours.
“Knowledge that we can accomplish the good we hope for, stimulates the system to act in the direction which Mind points out.”
-Mary Baker Eddy, Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, 394:7-