Last weekend I moved half a mile away. Although it seems like next to nothing, I’ve found that it’s actually something. I’m having to learn new routes to all the same places – going to work is just a bit different, church, and even my jogs have had to change. As I’ve set out out down the pavement this week, instead of familiar paths with their same landmarks, I find myself winding my way through unknown streets. I’ve never explored this part of my neighborhood and I’m encountering some unexpected twists and turns.
Tuesday evening, the new twists and turns got the best of me. One of the more challenging aspects of jogging in the Heights is that the sidewalks are inconsistent and often uneven. As I was sailing along, listening to whatever inspiring tunes I had playing at the time, I suddenly found myself face to face with cement. My foot had caught on an uneven section of sidewalk and I went flying. In the moments after, I slowly rolled over onto my back to a soft patch of grass. I assessed the damage: two skinned knees, a few cuts on my hands, a shattered phone screen and a sore shoulder. I was in shock for a moment. This was the first fall in three consistent years of jogging.
You never set out intending to fall. You expect to be winded and certainly sweaty (this is Houston, after all) but you don’t expect to limp home with bloody knees and a bruised ego. I suppose it’s part of the risk of jogging at all, especially on new routes. It was almost enough to keep me home on the couch for the next few evenings instead of venturing out again.
If I’m perfectly honest, I think this is true for me in many aspects of life. New things can be risky. If we’ve been around more than a few years, we’ve had our share of skinned knees. It can be enough at times to make us think, even if only for a moment, well I’m not going that way again. Sometimes we indeed shouldn’t go the same route again, but sometimes we just have to trust that the story is going to turn out differently this time around. Something new – and possibly even wonderful – could be around the bend. May we not let fear, may I not let fear, rule the day.
I’ll take us back now to Tuesday night. I hobbled along for a time. I happened to be near the high school, which opens its track to the public in the evenings, so I made a few laps around just to get my bearings. The track is safe and I knew exactly what I was getting. From there I went back into the neighborhood, though. I was back on those unpredictable streets. It wasn’t my fastest night and I think I walked half of the way home, but I’m okay with that. I made it. And the next evening I went out and did it again with no falls.
I was proud of myself this week. It may have seemed like a small risk – the going back out – but risky it was. And I’m glad I did it. Oh, that there would be many more adventures along new paths and may there be courage and steadiness along the way, skinned knees and all.