The morning after the half marathon, my husband left and flew back to New York. I wasn’t scheduled to leave until a day later, which meant 30 year old Katherine and her parents got to spend the day together at the Magic Kingdom. In my dreams, he changed his plane ticket and the four of us spent the day frolicking together through the park, riding Dumbo, and eating Mickey Mouse ice cream bars. But that didn’t happen. His loss. Because if you want to go to Disney World and experience all it has to offer, you go with my father.
I wasn’t as depressed as I thought I’d be. I was still on my “Look at me, I ran ALL the miles and I’m the strongest girl in the world high.” I trotted over to my parents hotel room, still wearing my medal, and we set off for our day of fun. I have two younger sisters and had spent my entire adult life living in New York, so one on one time with my parents had been hard to come by since I was two and a half. We had a great day. Around 10pm I started feeling the effects of my run the night before, and even though my dad still had all the energy left in the world, I had to throw in the towel. My legs were starting to feel ridiculously sore and I needed to get off of my feet ASAP.
The next morning we re-visited some of our old haunts from when I was a kid, we talked, we explored, and then we left for the airport. This time leaving them was agonizing. Going back to my “real life” filled me with fear. There I was, a 30 year old woman saying goodbye to her parents in the Orlando airport and I felt my eyes well up with tears. They left. I boarded my plane bound for New York. I had to fly home.
I thought I was being brave. Heading back, once more, to fight the good fight. Never retreat! Never give up! Hold fast! And maybe, in a way, I was brave. Since I’ve started writing this blog I have heard so many stories of women who tried to save their marriages. Some are still married, some are not. I think they are all brave. But, I think there is a time when you have to look around and realize you are fighting alone. Who is trying to save you? Who has your back in this fight? Where is your partner, your teammate, your spouse? If they aren’t on the front lines with you, then it’s time to re-evaluate.
A person far wiser than I once told me, “You don’t marry the person you want to be with in the good times, you marry a person you want to be with in the bad times. You marry the person you want to be next to you in the trenches.” You marry a fighter. When it comes time to fight or flee, you marry the one who you know will fight beside you. Not just fight for your marriage, but who will fight for you as a person. Who will fight for your dreams, your goals, your future. You marry the person who understands that this life with you is worth any fight or battle or war.
And if all that fails. If one day you look around, like so many, and realize you are in this ditch alone; you have a question to ask yourself. Are you a fighter? And you hear a tiny voice inside answer you, “yes.” And then you grit your teeth and you save yourself.
Jeremiah 20:11 “But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.”