Every stride on the gray pavement gets harder with the weight of the worry I carry on my shoulders. I began my run to clear my mind from the burden of my thoughts, but instead it is having the opposite affect. Instead, with my quickening pace another item on my to-do list I didn’t finish pops up. I run further and regret comes at me like the neighbor’s barking dog, over some choice I made that I wish I had done differently. Unfortunately for me, most times, my mind isn’t my best friend. More often than not, it is my worst enemy. Reminding me not only of today’s unfinished business, but plaguing me with all my past faults and failures.
The evening was chilly, but I was hoping that would help numb some of the parts of my brain I wanted to ignore. The uplifting beats blaring through my headphones weren’t drowning out the thoughts that were consuming me. My life was becoming too hard. I couldn’t breathe but not because of the energy I was exerting with my run, but because the pressure of it all was making it difficult to breathe. The pain in my side from running uphill was nothing compared to the one I felt deep within the walls of my heart. It all became too much and I had to stop and catch my breath. I turned off the music, and bent down focusing on my breathing, and holding back the tears. It took every ounce of energy left in me not to crumple to the floor.
Although spring was right around the corner, the grass wasn’t quite awake and the flowers weren’t brave enough to make their appearance. The path I ran wasn’t much to look at during these winter months, but a patch of gold caught my eye. One little flower embraced the cold, February evening. Some might argue that this little solider is neither a flower nor a thing of beauty but instead a nuisance. It looked like hope to me. This brilliant example of life was so bold to withstand the cold and uncertain Texas weather. What made this tenacious little flower pop up over and over again, after being overlooked, unappreciated, even poisoned and crushed? Most people wanted to get rid of them by any means necessary. Yet there it was. Lone and beautiful. Unaffected by the negative attention it got. I looked around me and saw many more patches of brown, lifeless grass, and in the midst of it all, bright, yellow dandelions shown as inviting as the sun. Standing tall, taking whatever life threw at them. Dandelions adapt to their environment and the weather, and therefore, continue to present their golden smile when most fragile flowers simply fade away. I wanted to be more like this strong, insistent little flower. I would adapt, and I would overcome the storms in my life. I stood up, standing a little taller. Turning on my upbeat music, I began my rhythmic strides again. The fears and doubts still not completely disappearing, but I would survive. I would come out of this season of my life, with the grace and elegance of a little flower, at times overlooked, unappreciated, but pushing through. I continued the last part of my run, a little lighter, with less on my shoulders and lot more hope.