Beauty Over Fear

It was announced last month that the university I work at will be closing this spring. For good.

It was announced last week that the world we live in will be closing this spring. For somewhere between 15 days and four months.

And then on Saturday…it snowed.


I have completed 15 marathons since I started running 10 years ago. My first one was the Portland Marathon in Fall 2013. I had no real idea what I was doing. I did long runs but not fast enough, far enough, or often enough. I survived and limped through the next week. And then signed up for the Newport Marathon that would be about eight months later.

This time I trained well. I had a schedule, that I actually followed. I improved my diet. I did more cross training at the gym (hello Zumba!). I had my outfit decided weeks in advance and all of my race music prepped.

Then a few days before, I came down with bronchitis. I passed out coughing the night before the race, and woke up just a few hours later, with my back damp in sweat. I had worked for months to get to that race, and hoped all of that training and the adrenaline of the morning would get me to the finish line.

Instead it got me to about mile 16 and then I could barely move, let alone run. My legs shuffled along on the side of the highway while I ached inside. Dehydration kept the tears away and my mom waiting at the end of the course kept me from lying down in a nearby bush (it was seriously considered). I spent several miles walking along, my goals for the race vanishing over the treetops.

After an hour, I was able to reset some of my mind. Instead of running this are, I was going to finish it. I was not giving up on myself, I was giving in to the realities of my physical limits. And every step, not matter how small or slow, was progress toward the finish line. DFL > DNF > DNS

After a few miles, I was able to run from one electric post to the next, with the promise that I could then walk as long as I needed. And then I would go for two posts, and then three; always allowing as much walking as needed to recover. I gave myself as much grace and time as I needed. Instead of seeing only failure in the day, I was able to catch glimpses of how pretty the area was. It was a beautiful day and area, no matter how far the plan had flown away.

Back to this month, this week, and this day, there is a lot of fear in the world and in myself. I worry about the health of friends, family, and even strangers on the streets. I worry about the future of my students and colleagues. I worry about my own future as a clock ticks away on my job without a #NextNextChapter in sight. It is just a freaking lot.

And then it snowed. A power greater than any human being changed everything. It was beautiful and strange and took away all of the fear for a little while. So now my prayers include asking for snow, or something else to remind me of the beauty over the fear.

Be kind to you. Be kind to others. And stay safe.

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