Run to the Dawn

So, I run. It’s dark but I run. I can’t see, but I still run.  The alarm goes off, I get up, get my things, lace up my shoes, and run.  I can’t not run. I run because I’m drawn to run. I run because the running calls me; it calls to my legs, it calls to my body, it calls to my mind, it calls to my heart. The street is calling, beckoning, exhorting…run.

So I run; in the dark, I run. There’s nothing more than a few lamp posts casting their scant illumination on the dark pavement just ahead of my steps.  I feel that I’m chasing these brief moments of light. I catch one, it moves behind me; on to the next patch of light.

I run through the dark. I run through the dark on streets that have no moments of illumination. I run these streets that I know from the day. I know these streets like the back of my hand.  But they’re so different in the dark. In the dark, I’ve forgotten many of the nooks and crannies seeming to hide in wait for my foot. I run trying to recall this manhole, this speed bump, that broken curb. More than I like, I dodge, last minute, the things I see almost too late. In the day, I would’ve seen it from feet away; but in the dark…Lauren be nibble, Lauren be quick…

But I run through the dark. The brisk cool air and the hope for the dawn energizing my steps. Every breath a small sign of life; every breath a small prayer. I run through the dark, left foot, right; left foot, right…my legs carry me forward on to streets that, in the daytime, are familiar, but, now are strange, winding mazes of pavement, concrete, and asphalt.

And I keep running. I pass houses and cars still slumbering. My eyes wander left and right catching fleeting glimpses of these sleeping giants; I’m momentarily jealous. But my legs keep carrying me forward, and I am forced to refocus my gaze ahead; my environment demands my focus, the streets remind me…stay focused, Lauren, stay focused…

And then it happens. As if out of nowhere: dawn breaks. The burgeoning sun to the east lights the road completely with ease. The initial low light grows and grows and soon everything is illuminated: the knotty tree branches, the varying colors of cars, the rectangular shapes of houses, the delicate blades of grass. The light touches me, toes first and creeps up to my upward tilted head. Dawn’s light warms my face. I can see my finish line; it is within a stride’s mere distance.

And I stop. I’m embraced by light and warmth. I’ve run to the dawn.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. — Hebrews 12:1-2

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