A group of women in their 60’s and 70’s were reported to be preparing to run a marathon. There are a couple of facets to this thought for me:
• First, these women are not youngsters
• Second – a marathon?
I’m not a runner, so the very thought of any kind of running competition is not appealing to me, but when I think of the time one must invest to prepare for this kind of event – that is really impressive. The time it takes to train, the stamina, and certainly the desire to see it through is remarkable. Additionally, they likely did not just start running marathons at this age; it was probably something they’d been doing for a very long time – a way of life for them. We should not be surprised that they are still able to do what they have practiced for years.
But I consider myself a “marathoner” of sorts. I run a race every day that many others probably couldn’t do – not because they wouldn’t be able, but because they haven’t be in training. I care for a son with special needs. Everything I need to do for me, I do for him, as well. I’m hoping to stay in this race until I’m old. But I know, in order to do that, I need to keep practicing my skills.
My husband and I have often been told that we make it look “easy.” What comes easily is how much we love our son – caring for him is just second nature. When one makes the choice to do the right thing, rather than what is easy, comfortable, and fun, and when accompanied with cheerfulness and a good attitude, we can see that the training can be productive. But it does takes stamina, perseverance, dedication, patience, longsuffering, and a few other things – all of which are developed over time – much like the training of an athlete. As an athlete trains daily, we practice doing what we need to do.
As an athlete makes sacrifices to train his or her body to work a certain way, those caring for the needs of others clearly give up a great deal to make what they do look easy. They sacrifice their own time, treasures, and talents to be able to do what they feel they are being called to do. An athlete needs to stop and rest to be able to get back in the race, but for this marathon, it’s 24/7. While we’d like to take a day off, unless we plan for someone else to take over our responsibility, there is none. Sometimes the length of this marathon can get tiresome!
Some days are weary. Sure, there are breaks and rests, but not always in the way we’d have planned them. We need to treat this race of life in such a way, that we prepare ourselves for the long haul – the marathon.
For us that has meant:
• Surrounding ourselves with positive people
• Relying on those who are willing to help – so we can rest and get refreshed
• Taking mini dates together since a 2 week trip away isn’t always possible
• Enjoying friends and family with times of laughter to brighten up life!
• Taking walks
• Enjoying hobbies (for me it’s watercolor painting) when I can
• Watching a good movie at home (and our if the situation arises)
• Reading a good book
• Offering to let our spouse sleep in on those blissful but few occasions!
• Start your list here:
With these “helps” for my marathon of life, I can be “in it to win it” and maybe even better my time. But the true and simple reality is this: I just want to complete the race – well.