“Circumstances don’t come to distract you from the spirit of gratitude; negative interpretations of them do.” ― Edmond Mbiaka
As a distance runner, many times you find comfort in running a familiar route or trail. There is solace in knowing where the road turns or undulates, where you can float or where you will be required to grind it out. However, there are times when you are running and your experience on the trail does not offer any guidance. In times like these, you shorten your focus, you place more attention on your foot step, and you allot darting glances to the trail ahead. Going uphill during these times seems more arduous and requires more mental tenacity. In contrast, the quick decent of the downhill seems faster and more out of control. Your success on this unknown trail is dependent upon the level of training and experience that you have as a runner. Experience that you gained from consistently lacing up your trainers and hitting the road.
As an educational leader trying to navigate these unique times, I find myself making connections between my experiences as a runner and those we are faced with today. Not connections to the predictable type of run that allows me to gauge my energy expenditure, but the free falling type of run that offers unexpected twists and turns. The kind of run that makes you grab a nearby tree just to stay upright and on track. Changes in direction are occurring daily, if not quicker, and we may not be able to predict the trail ahead. Undoubtedly, there will be very difficult times that may require decisions to be made in a split second. Times like these do not sit well for individuals that like to anticipate and plan. Either way, predictable and safe or crazy and unknown, our reaction to the circumstance is more important than the situation itself. We must trust the repetitive actions of our daily toil and progress with confidence through these rough roads. We must be disciplined in our actions and thoughts. We must understand that our past experiences will guide us and keep us on the right track. Life may be different and situations beyond our control may cause us to miss a turn. But as we traverse down this unchartered trail, there is hope. The hope of blazing a new trail and discovering a new experience. Controlling our interpretations along the way and expressing gratitude for the people that helped us navigate the path.