Monday, February 10, 2014

Running Laps

While a friend and I were out to dinner the other night, a woman walking by our table collapsed to the floor.  The large man she had dined with immediately hovered over her, trying to figure out what happened, while the manager of the restaurant called an ambulance. 

After assessing it wasn't a seizure, I noticed the woman's right arm laying limp, near the base of my chair.  I knew at that point, the most I could do, is help comfort her as we waited for the medical professionals to arrive.  So I reached down to this stranger, and offered her my hand to hold.  Immediately she gripped it tight.  Even with the big man she knew well standing over her, somehow I knew that offering her my hand would provide this woman additional comfort, support, and reassurance that she is going to be alright.

I shared this anecdote with a city man last night, thanking him and explaining that is what he has been for me since my return to the Midwest.  I wrote, "Thank you for extending your hand for me to hold in my transition from New York back to Michigan - for providing that additional comfort, care, and support.  Even though I know God is in this with me, as I've stated before, you've been good medicine for me as my body continues to heal.  Thank you for the phone calls, the e-mails, and sharing your writing with me.  It has been good getting to know your heart, and I am thankful that I've had the opportunity."

A month or two ago a meme with the following message showed up in my Facebook newsfeed. "Dating Tip: Run as fast as you can towards God, and if someone keeps up, introduce yourself."  I was tempted to comment, "I must run too fast... or it could be that I'm jumping out of airplanes."  But I refrained from writing anything because I knew I'd be writing out of frustration.  You see, when I was a student at the University of Michigan - 15 years ago - my mentor shared a similar version of this approach to dating with me.  "Run as fast and hard as you can towards God, and as you do, glance to your left and to your right from time to time to see who is running with you."  She explained, the men running with me would be the best men for me to marry.  As a 20 year old, this sounded like the perfect dating strategy to ensure me a wedding by the age of 30.  (I write this post at the age of 35, knowing that running towards God - fast, slow, or not at all - has no correlation as to whether or not you find somebody to marry.)

Running path around Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park

But being a runner, I liked that visual.  And actually, over the years, I've had a good number of men run with me, and be a source of strength and encouragement through challenging seasons in life.  Some of the men stuck by my side simply in friendship, while others ran with me in romance.  Regardless of romance or friendship, it feels different when male support is extended.  It does something to the psyche of a woman, just knowing she's not running alone, and that a man is beside her in the journey. 

But for some reason, it's like I'm stuck on this track, where men will come and run a few laps with me, but I have yet to meet someone who wants to sign up to run the marathon with me.  I know the stats are against me.  But I'm still hoping, someday, someone, will choose to run with me for the long haul.  In the meantime, I'm grateful for the many men who have come alongside of me, and ran with me for the time that they did.

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