My daughter is 25 years old and lives 900 miles away. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Spending the Christmas holiday together is a tossup this year. Yet, on December 1st, I dutifully pulled the lighthouse Advent calendar out of storage, dusted it off, and filled each little drawer with treats, just like I've been doing for the past 23 years. I don't know if it's Dory's influence in Finding Nemo, or Ma Ingalls in The Long Winter, or my coach, or likely all three. Regardless, the message is the same: when you're lost, or living through hardship, or you come up against an obstacle: just keep swimming.
When I first started running, every single thing seemed like a problem, an obstacle, a valid reason to stop. I was strength training, too, and my body hurt everywhere. I would tell my coach this and he would say, "Yep. Good." Yep? Good?...Oh. This happens. It will get better. You will get stronger. You just keep swimming.
When I first started running, I couldn't run more than 30 seconds. In fact, my first workout started with running 30 sec, walking for 3 minutes, for 3 miles. It felt SOOOO impossible. I needed hand holding--I couldn't even do it by myself, it was just too overwhelming. I remember every single step of those 30 seconds--they were never ending. It hurt. I cried. Mostly because it was an undeniable reality check of where I was. This past April, not quite 4 years later, I ran 30 miles in one day. You just keep swimming...
And, when I first started running, I was always looking for motivation; waiting for motivation. 7 times out of 10, it wasn't there. Is that even right? 9 times out of 10? One of the harder things I had to learn was to just keep swimming during this time. The motivation shows up from the progress, from the consistency, from the routine.
So really, just keep swimming is an act of faith, and an act of faithfulness to our lives. It's quiet bravery and a deposit in our mental strength account.
It's dark and cold outside, and the world kind of feels the same way right now. But I'm going to put my running shoes on and keep moving forward. And when I walk back through the door, my Christmas tree will be twinkling and the lighthouse will be there, with its' surprise for the day and it's steadfast reminder to just keep swimming.