skin taut, sweat spills, muscles ache.
this is a race, and i must win.
but this race is fast, and the runners around me are faster than i.
i struggle, i run, but i struggle.
we race against time, we race against life.
we must achieve, we must succeed.
we must win.
what is winning?
even i do not know.
they tell me that rich and important men living in the tall places of the world have won, but the smiles on their faces, fake, tell me otherwise.
they tell me that carefree men and women, free of inhibition, full of alcohol and brief casual sex have won, but the lack of contentment in their speech tells me otherwise.
they tell me that i must do this.
i must do that.
i must race, race, race hard, hard, to win the prize.
to get the gold.
but i am not fast, i am not accustomed to this type of race.
others are passing me.
they get married, they have children, careers, wealth, status.
check, check, check.
and i am racing, racing, hard, hard, to catch up.
why am i so slow?
why can i not run this race like they can?
where are my accomplishments?
where is my success?
where is my gold?
gold i have none.
success flees me.
accomplishments are as lofty as dreams for me.
but still i chase them.
still i race.
why do i race?
why must i run?
why can i not walk?
for it is in a walk that you see the trees, smell the flowers, and feel the breeze.
it is in a walk that you truly live.
but they all tell me to run.
but i am tired.
i am tired of feeling like i cannot run right.
i am tired of feeling like i’m not fast enough.
i am tired of being passed by other runners.
i am tired of lungs breathing hard, heart beating hard, feet stomping hard.
and a pebble, placed, sends me to my knees in a hurried fall that breaks skin and sends forth blood upon the hard and thirsty pavement.
there i bleed.
there i breathe.
and there, i realize: life is not a race.
it is a walk, a climb, a search.
but it is not a race.
those who reach checkpoints first are not special, more gifted, or more called than me.
they are simply fast.
and i am okay with not being fast.
i will take my time.
i will enjoy the trees, the song of the birds, the smell of the flowers.
i will feel the breeze, soft, and be reminded that life is a gift.
why should i chase it?
why should i run after something that has already been given to me?
i need not run.
i simply need receive.
it is hard to run with open hands.