“Sometimes I’ll be driving alone and suddenly I’ll be crying” – Phil Mickelson, PGA Tour pro, when talking about his Wife’s Cancer
Those words by Phil Mickelson this week reminded me of where I was almost a year ago. Trying to be strong for his wife, he finds himself alone, his emotions pour out. He and his wife are in that emotional purgatory as they wait for her surgery at the beginning of July and they remove the tumor. The waiting is just painful and getting back to golf for 4-5 days will definitely give him some normalcy again.
I look back on how we handled that waiting and remember how my wife and I just both worked up until the day before the surgery preparing ourselves for the long road ahead. It got our minds to remind us of what we have and what we needed to get back to. Our finish line was back to beinng normal and keeping our minds clear of the dangers thatwere ahead of us. It is like starting over. A new race. A new trip. A new beginning.
In Amby Burfoot’s (winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon) ” The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life”, he talks about the beginning of every race. The nervousness of what lies ahead and not knowing”. I think that the more scary the possible outcome, the longer the race might seem. The thought of battling cancer is like running many marathons. It isn’t the distance but rather the time to cover that distance. Every run I run has those first miles where I ask myself what I am doing and how far I think I can go tonight. They are the hardest miles and take twice as long as the rest, but they are the most fulfilling, the most thought-provoking and the most calming. I suspect that Phil Mickelson will look back on these days as a husband and realize what is important to him and if those things were already important, it will ground him even more.
New beginnings are like that, both rewarding and frightening. because of fear, people tend to shy away. We hesistate or never take steps that they should. We procrastinate and worry about all the things that might go wrong. We get paralyzed and think of all the bad things and fail to possibly see the brighter lights. Every night I run I worry about my aching back, my sore feet, that little bump on the side of my hip, my controlled asthma and worry, but less than ever because each night I know a new lesson will come to light. Sometimes it is new or sometimes it is a reminder of lessons past.
It is like the many sayings. You have to pay to play. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Unless you understand your barriers and where you come from, the end line will never seem so long ago, and you will better respect and comprehend the distance you have covered. The same goes for finishing what you start. Many times we never look back if we don’t finish or give everything we’ve got. The hard work, the stamina, the focus and the will to succeed are never realized and respected unless we finish what we started.
It seems like a small lesson and one we should all know but we face it in our every day lives. Learning to finish things off is so hard to do if you don’t learn to do it from an early age. Teaching my kids is the same thing. Although right now it isn’t about fear or fear of failure, it is about focus, its about learning to complete things.
Each summer my parents used to have a plan to teach us things we were either going to learn in the coming year at school so that we could get ahead, or such things that you couldn’t teach in a classroom. Life lessons my dad would call them. Today I call it experiencial learning. If we were going to Mexico, my father would mark things around the house with Spanish words to teach us how to speak basic words. This summer our lesson for our children is about finishing. We have a list of things our children have started and now we are going to finish. We are also reading them stories and showing movies about completing your journey. Some of them are silly movies like “Field of Dreams”. Others are more inspirational like Chariots of Fire and the Rookie.
Speaking of finishing, and starting. I need to end this post and get started on my Sunday.