The Thunderstorm

Yesterday afternoon I headed out on a scheduled 5 mile run. There were dark clouds overhead but I figured, on current form, I could scoot round and be home and dry without a drop of rain touching me. How wrong I was. About 3 miles into the run I heard the first crack of thunder and looked skywards to see a foreboding sight. Angry, impenetrable clouds about to unload their watery contents onto the head of the foolish man who though he could outrun Mother Nature.

I kicked on but, truth be told, I was already struggling. Yes, it was a hilly and challenging course, but I think it was more mental than anything. This was one of the routes I used to run with my ‘best friend.’ A friend I don’t speak to anymore. The route brought back bad memories and presented a mental challenge I seemed unable to negotiate. I was effectively beaten long before the first fat raindrop landed on my forehead.

I took cover under a tree and flinched as the sky lit up with a streak of lightning. Much closer than I initially thought, it crossed my mind I could be in a spot of trouble. The rain was now bouncing off the road and the overhead foliage was doing little to keep me dry. My running gear was soaked through. I looked at my phone screen to see a missed call from Fionnuala. There was no way I was going to complete the run. I was stranded.

I returned her call and, in my most pathetic, whiny voice, asked if she could drive out and get me. Rebecca was worrying about her Daddy getting struck with lightning and Charlie the dog was going nuts, as animals do when thunder and lightning arrive. I stood on the roadside, a pathetic sight, waiting for my long suffering wife to arrive and rescue me. The crazy thing? By the time we arrived home, the storm had ceased as quickly as it had started. Northern Irish weather, huh?

I vowed to myself I would never run that route again. It was as if God didn’t want me to go down that road, to revisit a past I have worked so hard to walk away from. Even had the rains not come, I think I would have struggled to get round. My arms and legs felt heavy and dead the second I took the turn onto the road. The wrong turn. In future, I would stick to the flatter, boring courses I have come to love and cherish, where it rarely rains.

Running is as much mental as it is physical and yesterday was no exception. I thought I knew best, that I could outrun my past, but got it terribly wrong. I’m not as strong as I think I am and my ego got well and truly mangled as a result. It’s not the first time Fionnuala has rescued me from a self inflicted pickle and it won’t be the last. She’s had 23 years practice and still I think Stephen knows best. Stephen doesn’t know best.

Are you in a pickle? Have you taken the wrong turn and now find yourself huddled by the side of the road utterly exposed as a tumultuous thrall threatens to wipe you out. Here’s my advice. There’s always a call you can make. There’s that one person you can reach out to, who will be there in the blink of an eye, dropping everything to charge to your rescue. It can be a family member, a friend, a work colleague. Just swallow your pride and make the call.

Some roads are not meant to be revisited. Only fools tread there, hellbent on drowning in the dark waters of pasts we need not wade through. Stick to what you know, do not stray for that is where you will stutter, stumble and succumb to thoughts and memories which no longer belong within your being. For you are better than that, you deserve better than that. Freedom comes at a price, but it’s a price worth paying.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

13 thoughts on “The Thunderstorm

  1. Pride that we alone can overcome or naivety that the potential for danger is not real or severe can lead us into places we shouldn’t venture. Even when our intentions are good. What harm is there in a planned run? Rain can be exhilarating and bring a refreshing joy to a run. Yet the storms of life can be harmful and beat us down. Running away feels different than running towards. Thanks again for sharing those real-lie moments that have practical application to the way we should be living. Your rescue was just waiting to hear you call.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post. I needed to hear every word of it today. I completely can relate to the painful past memories and running through them. Sometimes they stop me completely and it’s then that I remember some things are meant to be worked through piece by piece – while others are meant to be walked far away from, never to be revisited. Spiritual abuse and church wolves who see themselves as superior to those around them are people to be left in the past. Good on you to call your wife and bless her for dropping everything to get you. We do best to stick with those who show us that kind of support and love us as we are.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ah, Stephen! As a fellow runner in the wilds of NW Montana, I feel your meteorological pain! I have been caught in some very bad storms – unfortunately, I have not been so lucky to have a phone friend at the time or I have been too dang determined to finish my run!

    I did not see your ending coming though – the metaphor between the storm and being caught in a tough spot in life. I have been brought up short on a run – quite frequently lately – gasping for air that somehow got knocked out of me as my route leads my head into places I never thought I would find myself. Thank you for sharing your adventure. Now I don’t feel quite so alone out there in the storm.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I may not run, but my brain will do laps around “But this was my friend…” “Was” being the pertinent word. Sometimes we don’t need to revisit old paths.

    Liked by 1 person

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