I’m alone on a circular track where I either go around again and again or finally stop—depending on a guy on a pedestal holding either a green or checkered flag. I know what you’re thinking. Flags are used for car racing and starting pistols for track races—but it’s my dream! Each time I pass the flag man, I ask myself: Who gives this guy any right to determine another lap? He’s not running the race. Is he even qualified to impel me to run the length of my race?
I feel tired when I awaken. I’ve kicked off my covers, and my feet are freezing. Still, my dream brings questions to mind. This morning I am on an endless track where how many laps and when to stop is not determined by me. While laying in bed contemplating repeated challenges in my life and staring at the ceiling I ask myself, “You here again? Why? Wasn’t that enough?” I’m sure you’ve heard that our emotional lives are spirals. We return to the same place horizontally as we evolve spiritually and emotionally upward to a higher plane. Frankly, that’s a nice image, but today I don’t buy it. I don’t feel on a higher plane. Yet, there’s the green flag, and with a deep sigh I know I have to keep running the race.
My life has multi-faceted, overlapping tracks. When I write, for example, I sometimes feel like I’m running in place. I become a perfectionist and find fault with every effort: “This is terrible. Do something!” A yellow warning flag keeps waving until finally I pull out the checkered flag myself and shout, “Enough already! Get this endless, imperfect book to a publisher!” I am reminded of Leonardo de Vinci who said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
Then there’s the motherhood track. Every mother knows there are only green flags on this track until we are six feet under. Even if the kids are grown, we remain influential and continue to offer support and mentor (when asked). The hardest part is to keep silent until asked while I continue to circle this track.
The homemaking track is short, and I pass the same place every day. Everyone knows that housework is never done. Yet, it is both cathartic and routine for me, and I sometimes need one or the other—or both. I just keep mindlessly circling this track without complaint. Pretty much expected that anyway.
I’ve had almost 42 years of green and yellow flags running the marriage race. But honestly, only Randy and I hold the “Enough already! I’m outta here” flag. So far, we are still functioning as life partners and neither has waved a checkered flag. After all these years, we may both be too tired to do so. Or, more likely, we still enjoy each other’s company.
I know God holds the ultimate checkered flag in life-and-death issues. Until He ends my foot race and calls me home, I’ll keep running—even though at times my body feels too tired, my heart wants to burst, my purpose is difficult to see and my feet are still cold. However, I’ll trust Him with that flag.
With that thought, I climb out of bed with a prayer that God will help me focus on the moment and run my race today. My cold feet and I hit the floor—not exactly running but at least I’m upright.