The Journey: A Race to Finish

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a short story about life from the perspective of someone running a race.

Submitted: February 12, 2013

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Submitted: February 12, 2013

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The Journey: A Race to Finish by James Wilson

The race had started. I didn’t know how and I didn’t know why. But I found myself on a journey, heading down a road, an unknown path. At the beginning I was full of energy and dreams of where it might take me. With every breath, inhale and exhale, it felt as if I was meant to be on this road. I felt strong, invincible really. I thought that nothing but my own strength and shear will, would get me to my destination. The journey was easy when I had just started. At that time, all I knew was the level path beneath my feet and sun shining overhead as I continued to run.

Don’t misunderstand me, this was no ordinary road. There was no turning back as it seemed to completely disappear behind me with every mile I moved forward. Further and further I went along this path. Often there were roads that branched off of the road I was on. They were significantly wider, but there were no white lines or markings of any kind. They were full of cracks and potholes that someone probably wouldn’t even see before for they stepped in one and injured themselves.

So I stayed on the level path and sooner or later my journey had not become so easy. The land that was level had become rolling hills and when I reached the top of them, I was no longer as comfortable as I once was. My heart beating rapidly and legs crying out in pain was like nothing I had experienced. Occasionally there were signs along the way signaling for me to “rest”. At that time, I had no concept of what “rest” was.

The miles passed and gradually the sky became overcast, giving way to rain and thunder storms. Not to mention that there seemed to be more running uphill than downhill anymore. My shoes were heavy from the rain, my feet covered with blisters. There came a point where I had spent all of my energy, but I did not know how to stop. I had trained myself mentally to never stop. I was strong enough, capable enough, to reach that destination. Or so I believed.

I finally found myself running up one, seemingly endless, steep hill. The rain was so heavy I could barely see the white lines on the road. My body spent, hardly moving forward, my strength and my will had failed me. I felt both my mind and my body fading away. It was then that I lost all control, as my exhausted being came crashing to surface of that road. There I lay, unconscious in the heavy rain, in need of something I could not provide myself.
When I came to, the rain had stopped and bits of sunshine had found its way through the clouds. Right next to me stood one of those signs that simply said “rest”. I didn’t know how. I managed to bring myself to my knees, urging myself to press on, when I noticed a basket at the side of the road. It sat at the foot of one of the tallest trees I had ever seen.

Inside the basket was a loaf of bread and canister of water. When I removed them from the basket, facing up at me was a note that said, “Take, eat, remember, and rest.” There I sat, my weak, trembling hands slowly picking apart the bread, placing it in my mouth. Somehow I managed to bring the canister to my lips as my thirst and hunger were satisfied for the first time. Though still in pain, though a mountain stood in the path, I had been provided new strength to press on. It started as a slow walk, I didn’t make it very far before I knew I needed to rest. What I had not known, was while I was putting into practice this concept of “rest”, my muscles became stronger, my heart grew stronger, my mind grew stronger. The slow walk and resting turned into a jog. The jog and resting turned into a run.

My legs turning over, quicker than ever before, brought joy to my heart. Once again I felt as if I belonged on the road. Resting was vital to me. Without it, I was left with a weak body and a weak heart, struggling to get by. The rest of my journey was filled with easy moments in the sunshine and yet more and more mountains. However, there was a difference now. I paced the sides of the mountains and endured the rain with joy. Even on the mountainsides I felt as if I belonged on the road.

The last thing I remember from my journey was the sun setting in the sky. It was beautiful, but in its absence came darkness as I reached the finish of that straight and narrow road. So here I am, the race is over. I am no longer on a road. I am at a destination. Crossing the finish-line is like nothing I could’ve ever expected while I was running my race. I thought I would miss the road, since I really felt like it was my home, but it was then that I came to a realization. I found out that I never really belonged on the road, its purpose was to lead me to where I truly belonged, the finish. I think back at the decisions that I made on the road and I know there are things that I wish I had done differently. I wish I had run harder. I wish I had made the most of what I had there. But I also think back with a thankful heart, and realize that nothing that I had was mine in the first place. It had all been given to me along the way. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how short the race was, when it felt so long when I was on it. This beautiful, but often difficult, road was life and the thin white lines were God’s hands, guiding me in every comfortable and painful stride.


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