Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pace Yourself, Mama

Three years ago my husband ran the Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon. Since it was his first half-marathon, he was assigned to one of the back corrals, a holding tank for three hundred or so runners of similar pace. I took a few photos, kissed him, and headed to the starting line, thinking I'd see him a few minutes after the gun was fired. Wrong. Forty minutes and an extra mile later he crossed the starting line and began his race.

Today is Mother’s Day. You’ve written, but you want to write more. What’s your pace, Mom?

If you haven’t entered the race, register today. Read. Think. Listen. Watch. You're writing even when you're not.

If you’re in a back corral, take a step. Write short. Make a list. Write a note. Write funny. Preschool children offer great fodder. When my four-year-old saw my Suburban leaking water across the Burger King lot he said, “Mom, your truck is going potty!” Older people provide material, too. After my grandfather understood he’d had a stroke he said he’d just “put his shoes on and hitch hike home” from the hospital. Think about those comments. They’ll show you a different way of looking at the world. Isn’t a fresh view of life one of the elements you love in fiction?

If you’re moving forward, but slower than you’d like, be patient. Real writing—like real mothering—winnows. Both endeavors slough off the hard husk to reveal the core, who we really are.

If you’re striding, or even sprinting, be faithful. The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Work to find God’s balance between your call as mother and as writer.

While my husband ran the 13.1 mile race I headed to the adjacent 5K, a race that fit me. I smiled as I ran, knowing somewhere nearby my husband was running his course. I finished mine, took the banana offered me, and found the half-marathon finish line. Scores of people poured over it. Some could have turned around and run it again backwards; others streamed tears, hardly daring to believe they’d done the thing. Finally I spotted my husband, sweat-drenched and happy he’d finished his first and last half-marathon.

Where are you, Mom? Waiting to start? Inching forward? Striding? Sprinting?

Focus on Jesus so you can run the whole race marked out for you.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmm, I think I'm in a race with snails--and they're winning! Nevertheless, I'm slugging along! Hahahaha!