Articles

Warning Signs

Nov 19, 2012 / Comments (1) / Written by Misty Foster

I tripped and fell. Most people don't like to admit when they fall but I am and I did. Bad. It wasn't like, "Oh, I tripped and kind of toppled over gracefully." No, this was more along the magnitude of crash and burn status. I didn't just fall, I fell hard...and all because I took my eyes off of my path.

In the last six months I have started running again. I ran in years past but due to knee issues I stopped. In May, I started again and have slowly built up my stamina and distance. I have a couple of running routes that I have mapped out around the area we live. Each day, I try and add distance by running an extra block or going a little further. Usually, I look at a map so I can be sure and stay on track. This day, I did not. That was my first mistake. As I was running I thought, I will just go a block up and I should be fine. But there was no next block - so I kept running. When I did come to a cross street, it wasn't the one I thought it would be. But I took it any way. Still no map-checking. I kept looking for familiar street names (although this route is newer and I'm not familiar with many of the streets). Each street name I came to was completely unfamiliar but I thought I was still heading in the general direction that I needed to be, so I just kept on. Mistake number two.

Finally, when I saw a major road ahead of me, I thought I had to be on track. Except, as I checked the sign, I realized I was far from my track. I should have come out on a road that runs East/West. Instead I hit the road that runs North/South. I was so far from where I should have been although at least at this point I knew where I was. So, I kept running. I knew if I took this road south, I would shortly run into the road I was supposed to be on and could then catch my next turn to get back home. But I started worrying; I became preoccupied. Because of my detour, I was later than usual, which meant I would be late to work for sure. Traffic was getting heavier which meant getting across major streets would take longer. I hadn't run this far in a while and my legs were getting heavy. If I had to walk the rest of the way, I would be even later. I finally made it to the right road and began searching for my next turn off to get back in the right direction. I was so lost in my own thoughts and in searching for my road that I took my eyes off the path in front of me.

I saw the road I needed, but what I didn't see was the two inch lip in the uneven sidewalk. But I felt it...as soon as my foot made solid contact and I was pitched forward out of control. It was a slow motion feeling as I tried to brace myself for what I knew was inevitable - contact with the sidewalk and dirt. It was an epic fall. Again, not just a dainty fall with poise and charm. No, I hit and then proceeded to slide a few inches before coming to my final resting place half on the sidewalk (halfway in the dirt). Instantly, I felt my knees and palm burning in protest.

I knew I had to get up. Not just because I was on a busy street and people were probably laughing their heads off, but because I had to see if I could move. I had to see if I could continue on or if I would have to wake up Duncan to come and get me. As I stood, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. The entire front of me was covered in dirt and my right palm had concrete burn. It stung but I didn't see or feel blood anywhere. I started walking and dusting myself off, trying to move myself as far as possible from the scene of the crime. I was afraid someone who saw me eat it would feel the need to stop and check if I was OK which would make my humiliation all too real. I was stiff, but I could move. I walked a little and then started jogging and - with as much as was in me - picked up the pace.

I had to stop one or two more times just to give myself a breather, but I made it home. As I pulled out my phone (finally), my tracker showed I had run a mile farther than usual but my time was actually decent. As I walked in the door, I sheepishly told Duncan what happened and that it was not how I expected to start my day. He asked me what I wanted to do. I said go back to bed. After a quick check, I had some concrete rash on both knees and my palm but other than that I was OK.

So what's the moral of the story? Watch where you are going? Yes, but more than that I think I would say it's about paying attention to the warning signs. See, I took my eyes off my path, which we can often do with God. We get preoccupied, confused, frightened by our circumstances and we get distracted. But if I had heeded the warning signs and slowed down sooner, I could have saved myself a grand trip (literally). This is the same with our walk. Oftentimes, we get off track and rather than stopping, it's all too easy to just keep going and we find ourselves in a place where each step takes us further from where we want to be. We find ourselves in that place, with that person, having that conversation, doing that thing, and then we realize we've too far gone. We get caught up in the scramble to get ourselves back and we fall. When we get off track and we know it, we need to stop and check in. Don't take one more step without hearing God's voice. Luckily, when we detour, God makes it easy to find our way back.

The next few days would bring bruises and soreness but overall, no harm done; God had protected the integrity of my knee and I was back running in two days (this time on a route I was familiar with). He often does that in us. We have to deal with the consequences of our choices but God often protects us and preserves the integrity of our spirit. So I took a fall. It was my first in all my days of running. Sadly, after talking with running friends, it probably won't be my last. But I'll know better next time: heed warning signs, keep my eyes on the path, and watch those uneven sidewalks. It's the same for my walk: heed God's warnings of what we should and should not be doing, keep my eyes on Him, and watch those tricky uneven places I shouldn't be.

Today, I can say I'm thankful for the fall, for the lessons it has taught me, and that I wasn't injured. Most of all, I'm thankful I didn't end upon YouTube (I hope).

Misty Foster

 

Comments (1) Submit a Comment

Was just browsing through She archives and came upon your story. The fall is a great example of us taking our eyes off of the Lord. I know it was a while ago but the messge is right on. Thank you for sharing. I pray wholeness of health for your body, mind and spirit. Love you! In His love, Margie Chrestman

Posted Apr 15, 2013 08:50:00 PM by Margie Chrestman

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