Micah came up with this analogy last night after a conversation with some friends in which the words, “I could never be a runner,” were spoken.
Imagine, if you will, that you were to change that last word — “runner” — to something else. Like, say, “parent.”
“I could never be a parent.”
That is what you think.
And yet, you see people who are parents, maybe have friends who are parents. You see them having to deal with tantrums in the grocery store, diaper blowouts at the park, power struggles over how many bites of dinner to eat in order to be excused from the table. And you wonder, why would anyone put themselves through that?
But you also see them go all crazy over their 2-year-old’s birthday, you watch them laughing and joking over 4-year-old jokes at the dinner table, you notice that they seem really happy being parents, despite the tantrums, the disciplining, the messes. It seems like a lot of fun. Ideal, even. And you think, wouldn’t that be so awesome? To be a parent?
Eventually, you get to a point in your life where becoming a parent seems like a good idea. You actually want to do it. You are willing to put forth the effort to do whatever it takes to be a parent. But at first (after the baby is born) it is really hard. You are so tired all the time. Your body and mind seem to be at odds. You know this is what you wanted, but it feels like it will take a long time to get to the laughter over silly dinnertime jokes, the joy of watching Junior go bananas over a toy car, the amazement at the child’s ability to sing — all of the things that convinced you to do this in the first place.
You are just slogging along, taking it hour by hour, day by day, hoping you can stick it out until you start see some payoff. You are pretty sure it is coming, but you are too tired to see it. And then, you do see it. You aren’t as tired. You are attached to this little being. You can make him smile, laugh even. The diaper blowouts are no big deal because that baby is yours. In fact, it isn’t just that you have a baby. It’s that you are a parent.
Now, do you see the parallels, or do I need to spell it out for you?
You could do it. You could be a runner. (Or a swimmer, a baker, an artist, a singer . . . whatever.) Maybe not right now, maybe that isn’t what you want. But maybe someday it will be. Just know that when you decide it is what you want, it will be slow-going at first. You’ll be tired. You’ll question your resolve. It might hurt. But eventually, it’ll pay off. There will be a lot of joy to offset the pain. You won’t mind the tough workouts and bad days because you know that better times are coming. You’ll look forward to seeing the sun rise as you take the hill, to feeling that first breeze of fall as you crunch through the leaves, to coming in to a warm house and hot chocolate after a run in the snow. You will feel so alive.
And then you won’t just be someone who runs, you’ll be a runner.