I have been involved in cross country and track for over 9 years. My youngest daughter started as a freshman in high school and is now completing her last year in college as a collegiate runner. I have seen the highs and lows, and have seen how intensely each athlete pursues their goals. There is strategy, training and an abundance of mental games athletes go through in order to compete. Running is not just about deciding to "run". It is so much more than that.
Today, as I was sitting at a stop light, I noticed a large group of what looked like high school boys run by. "They must be out for the first day of cross country practice", I thought. As they crossed the bridge next to me, they proceeded to head straight toward a hill. A fairly steep one at that. I wondered how many might stop. In the group, I could see veterans...probably seniors that have been running for a while, and newbies: those freckle faced, young looking, small freshman, out for their first time trying to keep up with the pack.
As they crossed the street and headed toward the hill, some fell back and slowed down, while others kept pace. There was one young boy at the back of the pack, and I could see he was really struggling. Soon, all others were now over the hill and he was barely running to get up the hill. Keep going! I thought...just keep trying.
He stopped. He bent over and held his knees for what seemed like a few seconds. I wondered..would he just walk up that hill, would he stop completely and go back, or would he keep running?
My bet was on the last option.
Sure enough, within just a few seconds, he started running again. Slow, but steady, up the steep, steep hill, and eventually over the top and he was gone.
The first thing that ran through my mind was, "he did it!" He did not give up or stop trying and he made it over the hill.
And, in life, it is the same way. There is a time to "give up" in a sense, or go in a different direction. That could be the most wise decision. But, if we don't even try; if we just stop, we will never make it over the hill.
So often in my life I have kept going when I probably should have stopped or gone in a different direction. But, at least I kept trying. Perhaps I was slower than some, or raced to the finish at other times, but when circumstances were not in my favor, I continued to go forth into what I thought was the right direction. I continued to pursue, run, (or jog, or walk) in a sense, up the hills of life. And, I made it to the top.
Stopping completely will never get you to the top. Going in a different direction, or continuing at a slower pace will. So, decide which option is the best one for you. If you don't keep going, you will never make it over the hill.