Starting Line Miracles

The great irony of this post is how long I stared at the white screen before I started writing. It really is hard to start something new. Even little things like a blog post.

For the past week or so, I’d seen many posts on social media about first days of school. Kids venturing off to new grades, or more often stepping outside for the picture and then back inside for a Zoom meeting with their classmates. Their first days this year are different from ever before (and hopefully from ever again).

During class, in person or online, the teacher will ask for a volunteer. Someone to go first in sharing about their name and a little bit of their story. Or ask someone to read the next paragraph. Or ask someone to share about how they are feeling today. The silence might last for just a second or for the longest minute ever. Someone will have to be the one to speak up, to break the silence and start.

The first day of school, the first volunteer in class, the first page of a blog; each of these comes with so much pressure in worrying what could go right and of course what could go wrong. First dates are a torture that countless television shows and movies have explored. No matter how many flirty texts or long phone conversations have happened, having that other person in arm’s reach changes everything. Saying yes to a first date means saying yes to a lot…maybe.

And none of the joy or pain of any of those moments can happen without the first step. Everything else depends on it. I’ve participated in about 100 races over the past decade, and thousands of training runs before and after them. Every single time, the hardest part is getting to the starting line. I manage to procrastinate for hours before going for a run in my neighborhood that will take less than an hour. The early morning alarm before a marathon is the worst sound, and one that I will wake up multiple times fearing I’ve missed.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” – John Bingham

That quote is at the bottom of every email I send and hangs over my living room desk. They are the words I share with stressed out students, with friends making a choice, and with the woman in the mirror before a long run.

Step one is the hardest. Promise. Have the courage to step up and a miracle could be right around the corner.

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