I walk with my Dad, around the track, lap one, lap two, lap three...but we don't keep track. We get lapped by the runners and we lap the slow-walkers. One of the slow-walkers says, Good morning! like it's the first time we've passed him, every time. And then sometimes he breaks into a run, his bent back and knobby knees pushing forward in short bursts, like he just can't help himself. Like he's racing and trying to win in the last seconds.

I want to be like him. I want to be content going my own pace, surrendering to what passes me by and what I leave behind. I want to burst forth, breaking into a run every once and a while, when I have the energy, only when I can.

It has taken me until age 35 to even begin to understand when to walk--when to wait and see and feel, and when to run--to find the energy to fight my aching back and wobbly knees and try a little harder.

For most of my life I've been doing a lot of spinning-wheels kind of running, faster faster faster, to avoid the hurt from the past or to try to run quickly through whatever hurt may take over the next lap. Just push through, don't think, don't feel, just go.

Which has been pretty futile since I feel things so deeply no matter how hard I try not to feel things.

So lately I've been strolling, just being, just existing. Not pushing for things to go my way, not manipulating life, not trying to make it what I think it should be. I'm not very good at this, but I'm trying. I'm slowing down enough to watch and wait and see. I'm saying, Good morning!

Life since the day I quit drinking has spurred on and it's been good and fast and much. Things have come my way that I did not expect and I'm grateful for those things. But now, this slowing down feels good and right. These days of growing a baby and being still and sifting through my heart are good. Something is happening in me that means I have to strip away everything that feels like running. It's not time to run.

It's time for quiet and for surrender. It's time to watch and wait and see, to hope and know and believe.

Around the track where I walk with my Dad there are big inspirational signs hanging on the concrete walls. They say things about caring and responsibility and perseverance. My Dad and I go slow enough that I can read them, to think about them, to let them sink in. That's what this feels like...a season to allow the dreams of my heart to reveal themselves like signs on a wall, ones I can take in, around and around and over and over, taking my time. This is different from my past, the way I would rush clumsily around the track, throwing up my own signs and willing life to follow my design. This is different than wondering what my "purpose" is and why it hasn't shown up...this is realizing that I live my purpose even when I don't know that I am, and it's all good.


I have a vision for something. It's been waiting for me to slow down for years. I've spoken it many times and never truly believed in its possibility. But in this season of quiet, I'm starting to read the writing on the wall and the pieces are falling together and I'm starting to believe in what I see. I can't deny what I see. I can't say coincidence! or fluke! because this is all just too...weird. Like, look around for the hidden camera kind of weird. In the best possible way.

Slowing down to remember and hurt and learn and heal is not half as bad as I thought it would be.

I'm being lapped and I'm learning and I like it.

23 clicked right here to comment:

Kimberly said...

I know it's super self-centred to say so, but I really needed to read this. Yep, your sweet epiphanies are all about ME, don't'cha know. Life has been franticness and struggle lately. Trying to force myself to change and grow speedily to catch up with my crazy expectations of myself and of life.

This was so beautiful, so needed, so appreciated. I'm so grateful that amidst all the chaos there are friends like you.

Ann Imig said...

I need to read this again. I found that beautiful surrender space, but have gone astray again. Trying to post my own signs and totally forgetting to say Good Morning! to today/this week/this month/this season/and ESPECIALLY this three year old boy.

I feel so much momentum and never enough time.
And so much love and so much frustration

Sharone said...

I feel like I'm in a place very much like this, where I'm kind of waiting and watching dreams be revealed. And I have to say, I sort of love it. Something about it feels so right -- the settling in, the slowing down, the accepting the uncertainty of looking at a picture that might not be clear for a while (which is not a kind of acceptance I would normally have).

I can't wait to hear more about your dreams. :)

Ann Imig said...

this is realizing that I live my purpose even when I don't know that I am, and it's all good.

yup, that's it. Right there.

Heather of the EO said...

Kimberly, not self-centered. I always hope my experience and my fumbly way of expressing things is understood...resonates with other hearts. I'm glad.

Sharone, "the settling in, the slowing down, the accepting the uncertainty of looking at a picture that might not be clear for a while (which is not a kind of acceptance I would normally have)" - ME TOO. Yes, what you said.

Ann, I know. I know. It ebbs and flows for me. It seems I'm always either walking or running at the wrong times. And that the times I'm finding the pace that suits my heart are always so fleeting because it SO goes against my impulsive NOW NOW NOW nature. It's hard! And so yes, the truth is, we're always doing okay, even when we don't know it.

Heidi said...

I think a lot of people feel this way--in their thirties. It is amazing to me how much of this is dictated by our age. I used to see myself running along a shiny ribbon that just kept bunching up in front of me. I could never get to the end, no matter how fast I ran. Everything was always ahead of me. I remember when that all started to change for me. Now I feel like it flies by too quickly and I am getting to the end of things too fast (I'm at the end of my 40's, now). Learning to pace ourselves is one of the chores of being human. Of course, you said it all so beautifully. (I am so happy and excited about baby number three!)

The mad woman behind the blog said...

Yes, I need this too...like a daily affirmation to breath.
My growing a baby will slow me too, I hope.
Thank you for sharing this!

TKW said...

This piece reminds me sharply of Anne Lamott's writing. Which is about the highest compliment I can give.

Joanne@ Blessed... said...


I always love stopping by your place. LOVEd the TV interview. It's amazing what God does with a life when the person is willing to say, "YES, use me."

How is the book coming along?

Michelle Ogdahl said...

Beautiful post Heather, LOVE it! Surrender, listen, pause...walk don't run. Who knew that first place wasn't always the best spot? :)

Becky said...

I love this and need this reminder often.

and p.s. walking with dads is awesome. I love the walks I take with mine... treasured moments.

Maggie May said...

I'm here from Anymommy and adding you to my blogroll. I was in AA from age 15 to 30... my story is very different than yours but I SO GET IT. our oldest boy (16) is in an outpatient program now, and i'm praying that is as far as he needs to go to get it. i love the honest and seeking way you write.

Anonymous said...

This is a mantra for every woman who ever felt their life was spinning out of control. For me. Because I see it, I want it, I just haven't stepped into it yet. All of it. And so I continue to find pockets of inspiration from people as beauitful as you.

Amy @ Never-True Tales said...

Slowing down and being able to just 'be'...it's an exercise I have to consciously practice, and even so, I'm terrible at it. The man saying good morning made me smile though: part of my teaching job involves greeting all the kids as they come to school each morning. Being scheduled to be there, at my post at a certain time has enabled me to do something that's been so rewarding: saying hi to all those kids each and every morning is one of the best parts of my day.

Allison @ Alli 'n Son said...

Beautiful Heather. It takes a lot of strength to slow down and just tale life as it comes.

Linda said...

I agree with Heidi and I continue to be kind of fascinated by the "phases" we go through all our lives -- not just in childhood. My daughter, now 26, gave me a mixed
CD of favorite songs on my 30th birthday entitled "Songs of Rebellion" ... she gave me a mixed CD of favorite songs on my 40th birthday entitled "Songs of Surrender"... perfect!

Nicole said...

I usually try to cope with the hard times by doing too much...not sleeping, going incessantly till my body gives out on me. When I do give myself time to slow down and just enjoy BEING, it helps put life into perspective. I wonder why I can't remember that when I'm going 150 miles per hour.

JCK said...

It's definitely your season.

Kazzy said...

Yes, walking is a good good thing. Great lesson. Happy Thanksgiving, friend.

Jamie said...

This is my favorite post to date...thank you.

Sarah said...

Oh Maverick, this is so eloquent. And yes, I'm exactly there. Tired of the spinning-wheels kind of running. Giving way to a certain kind of surrender. Hearing the whispers and allowing them to become full, loud voices within.

A season of quiet. Also, a season of revelry.

Denise said...

Maverick. Love you, man. I'm so so glad that you're not going mach10 with your hair on fire. Being lapped and learning to like it. I'm gonna try this. Really, really try it.
xo Goose

Jessica said...

Beautiful post!

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