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Back in the ….. well … early 80’s … I was training for my 1st marathon. I had trained through a college class and was certain of my ability to complete the 26 miles, 385 yards. On race day the excitement and adrenaline almost overpowered my ability to keep a steady pace. I found it, stayed steady, enjoyed the run and remember feeling exhilarated as I breathed in the salty Pacific air. Even more exhilarating was when I hit mile 20 ……. and “the wall” was not presenting itself. It was clear other runners were experiencing it … I was elated to be moving myself from the middle of the back of the pack … to the back of the middle of the pack. It was glorious. However, comma, it appeared I was a late bloomer. I was but a couple of miles from the finish line when the “brick” wall fell before me. It is a sensation that is dreadfully indescribable. I no longer cared about keeping my space in the back of the middle of the pack or even if I was to be the last of the last of the back of the pack. I only wanted to somehow get across the finish line. I learned a lot about myself in those last 2 miles, my strength, my perseverance, my stubbornness, my resolve, my determination, and my ability to focus … on just one step at a time and not concern myself with the steps that were certain to follow. Those 2 miles have proven to be maybe the greatest “life lessons” in my 57 years life.

The Wall ……. How often do we hit the wall while living life? I assure you I hit it again on August 24, 1987 …. at 7 cm, and then 8 cm and again at 9 cm …. I ignorantly assumed that “because I was a marathon runner” I would push that baby out lickety split … not to happen ….. the umbilical cord had wrapped itself around our little girls’ neck making it impossible for her to “lickety SPLIT”.   But, again … it was that ability to focus only on the “current” breath and “current” push ……

With my chronic pain … “The Wall” presents itself in various ways. Most common is the 3:00 pm wall. I do not wear a watch and try not to know what time it is in the afternoon so I won’t “expect” this wall. Often … in fact, very often …. it comes anyway. It is not a painful cement wall … just a wall of knowledge that I can’t go on physically, socially or emotionally. Then there is the morning wall. The one that hits when it is time to “start the day”, though I am not. I despise this wall. It is a wall that has a huge, runny, dark red “happy face” graffitied on it reminding me to keep a consistent smile and upbeat posture despite whatever physical pain I may or may not be in. This wall is exhausting. Then of course, there is the wall I am most familiar with … the wall of overwhelmedness. (I know, I know, overwhelmedness is not a word, but neither is “lickety split” …). This wall is a Tempurpedic wall. Not painful, but makes me very aware of its presence … and its ability to smother me if I get to close. Dealing with chronic pain requires constant, somewhat focused, concentration. There is no “real” down time … then you add to that the graffiti smile and whatever life happens to be throwing your way ….. the outcome is …. Wellllll …. In techno terms …. ERROR MESSAGE, THIS PAGE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE, ABORT, RETRY, FAIL, HTTP 404!!!!!!!!

What life throws your way ……….. I am having a lot of “life” thrown my way these days. In truth, glorious blessings are thrown in there also …. But, I seem to want to focus on the “a lot” part. I am hitting walls in every direction, of every sort and kind. I feel alone. Again, I am reminded of the 1st time I experienced “The Wall” … tackle one step at a time ….” Remember, Sandi … you are strong, resolved, determined, focused and yes, stubborn. These traits will get you through the wall”.

As a Christian woman, generally walking in strong faith, I am challenged to keep my faith in front of me when smothering in a Tempurpedic wall of overwhelmedness. I believe the key is to “step back” and remember who I am running the race for.

“… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1b-2