Run, Bristol, Run

The wrong kind of running

I know I’ve been a bit negligent (shall we say non-diligent?) lately, blog friends. Life has been full lately, chaotic even. It feels like I’ve been running around constantly, Lola-style. Remember Run, Lola, Run? Lola has 20 minutes to come up with some massive amount of money to save her boyfriend. She keeps re-living the 20 minutes, trying to get every detail exactly right so no one will get traumatized or shot or arrested and everything will work out in time. Every time she makes a mistake and the situation ends badly, she closes her eyes and asks for another chance to figure it out.


I have felt a bit like Lola lately — desperate, frantic, out-of-breath, scattered. If only I, too, could close my eyes and re-start my day each time it ended badly. If only I can have one more chance, I will do it right. I will save that crucial five minutes and be on time. No one will get hurt; nothing will be forgotten. I can make it work if every detail goes as planned

The right kind of running

This evening, I received an unexpected moment of grace when my tutoring session was canceled at the last minute. A free two hours felt like an enormous blessing, and I used the time to take a long run down by the water. It felt like salve for my harried heart. I thought about how cluttered and inattentive my mind has been lately. And I was reminded again of these beautiful words:

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me. (Psalm 131:1-2)

How easily I have forgotten, despite carrying an index card with these words on it for the last few months. So tonight, during my gift of a run, I reminded myself: Be weaned, soul, from your tight-fisted addiction to busy-ness. Be weaned from your need to organize, analyze, and process everything. Be weaned from your desire to prove your worth through worldly success and daily productivity. Be weaned from your compulsion to do head theology instead of heart theology, to ask the big questions without listening for the small answers. And by the time I made it to the far side of the lake, my heart had opened back up again, and the gentle light of redemption had shined its way in.

My route crosses a set of train tracks, and on the way home, I got stuck waiting for a train to pass. Over that 5 or 10 minutes, a little community of cars, cyclists, and walkers collected on either side of the tracks, staring at each other through the passing train cars. It was a good thing I’d just remind myself to let go, to be patient and flexible, to lean into the present moment.

After a bit, a sweaty, dedicated jogger (complete with baby stroller) trotted up to the tracks. Until the train passed, he bounced in place and ran in tiny little circles, pulling that stroller back and forth, back and forth. But me and my weaned soul, we decided just to accept a moment of rest, heart-rate be damned.

Today, I’m recognizing that sometimes art/writing/blogging is imperfect, but that there is solidarity in coming together to share that imperfection. Linking up with Emily:



Filed under Musings

4 responses to “Run, Bristol, Run

  1. Props for Run Lola Run, love that movie. These words are a soothing reminder to me Bristol, thanks. And speaking of scattered, please ignore that totally random email I sent last week. I’ve been rushing too, and replied to the wrong person. I need to stop and listen and just breathe. Maybe I should take a long run, nah I don’t run, but walking I can do. And clearly need to.

  2. i’m with joy, i LOVE run, lola, run… and this post, bristol… the gentle way redemption shines through it, the way you worded that, the way you let yourself be weaned, and quieted… i needed this tonight. thank you.

    • Thanks, ladies! I’m glad there are other Lola fans out there!
      Joybird, I’m hoping you found some peace and walking space. Send me random messages anytime!
      Emily, I’m glad I can pass on even a little of the redemption I feel daily… even if only word by word.

  3. thank you for this..i need those moments of stillness, taking a break…because life does come at you fast…pausing now…thanks for the gentle reminder…

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