I still distinctly remember approaching the finish line of my first ever full marathon 10 years ago in Big Sur in California. Just about a hundred yards to go I was running and giving it everything I have, digging deep physically; then hearing the crowd cheer, I got overcome by my emotions of achieving such a feat. I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t know whether I wanted to burst into tears or throw up in fatigue.
To run a marathon (26.2 miles or 42 kilometers) is an uncommon goal for any individual. Only about half of 1% of the U.S. population has run a marathon. When I first set my goal to run one, I couldn’t tell if my friends were impressed or thought that I was crazy.
So why did I run a marathon? To me, it was a unique opportunity to challenge my physical strength and mental toughness. It was a test of my spirit and determination to rise above and beyond my abilities. If I could do it in running, perhaps I could also do the same in anything if I put forth all my effort and willpower, ready for all struggles and challenges, then I will always come out victorious in my attempts to better myself and my world around me.
My last statement is almost quixotic. But don’t we have all have some kind of idealistic dream? So why not go for them. Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha himself suggests a reason why. When asked by Aldonza, the simple peasant woman rough on the edges who Don Quixote adores, why he does all the chivalrous things to her, Don Quixote replied, “I hope to add some measure of grace to the world.”
I think we are all called to contribute something to better the world. Idealistic it may seem, you hold fast to your dreams for a better world and don’t ever let it go. In the face of trials and defeat, don’t give up. In the midst of pain and grief, you keep going. You run where the brave dare not go.
|Photo courtesy from pixabay.com
"The Impossible Dream"
Version by Andy Williams 1971
(my late father's favorite singer)