You Are Sooo Close

Photo Credit: Benson Kua, Creative Commons, cc license

A lovely foreign-accented dark-haired woman with pale complexion and red lipstick clips words with a heavy tongue beside me, while an American businessman converses with her. They mention churches, the Basilica, nieces dancing in Hopkins, and a local pontoon party.

I’ve finished my Sunday School lesson outline and refilled my coffee. It scalds my tongue, and I spill two drops of golden tan onto my page.

I wonder about this morning’s blogpost I need to write and stretch my legs that, miraculously, are not as sore as they could be after yesterday’s run. Successfully getting back into jogging, I ran one and a half miles without stopping Friday afternoon. Saturday and Sunday, I groaned and clutched my legs in pain but proud accomplishment sustained me.

Yesterday (Monday) I forced myself to run again, knowing the second time is always the hardest. Making yourself set out down that marked path when the memory of agonizing weariness is so fresh and your legs are still sore from the last run is the hardest time to run. No endorphins ever set in, and my run looked more like a limping pitiful jog, but I did it. My husband’s cell phone I was using as my music player had a battery line in the red, warning of only ten percent life left. I willed and prayed it to last to my mile and a half marker, a blue house that seemed absurdly far away.

Cars passed me going north and south, and far-off hollow hammer falls echoed across the valley. Mountains of black dirt behind an orange plastic construction fence hinted at future retail areas, and a blue porta-potty boasted “Fresh Air” across its walls. I panted and willed myself to keep going.

Green-glinting mallard duck and his demure brown mate floated on a vast rain pond, mirroring a massive blue sky. I wheezed and tried to train my arms to circle in tight arcs and not flail wildly.

The blue house loomed far out of sight and I felt my resolve flagging. Breathe. Don’t stop. Breathe. Don’t stop. Breathe. At least to the next driveway, at least to the next driveway. And the words became a mantra in and out of my double-rhythmed breathing. Don’t stop. To the next driveway. 

Intersection lights blinked far down the road and I knew the blue house should be appearing soon.

You’re so close now, Jen. Don’t stop. Breathe, don’t stop. Breathe, don’t stop. Breathe. My legs screamed, my breathing was labored, and my arms flailed unchecked, but the blue house appeared. The driveway line was so close. I pounded step in front of step on the asphalt stubbornly, until the line came. At the obscure chosen mark, I was spent and limp, spinning a triumphant 180 degrees. Everything in me grabbed air and rejoiced at not running, as I walked weakly back down the path. Gasping, wheezing, I sucked air and tried not to collapse in view of passing cars. Step, step, breathe. 

Smile. Accomplished.

My chest and breathing slowed, the valley extended wide, expansive under a blue May sky, and the spiritual and metaphorical implications hit me.

Whatever you’re persevering towards (raising kids, a book contract, marriage growth, an art piece, sin victories), keep going. You’re so close. Don’t stop. Breathe. Don’t stop. Breathe. You are so close…

(Linking too with gentle Ann in thanks.)

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  1. Floyd on May 7, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Oh yeah… That's it! Good job, sister! That attitude is what your kids see, your husband… our Father. He is our strength. He provides the will and the strength, and you're doing it. Nothing in this life, physically speaking, is as sweet as the pay off of perseverance. And so it is with our spiritual life as well, even better when we persevere for what is our All. Amen! Good job, Jen!

  2. Jennifer Dougan on May 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    "He provides the will and the strength" –yes, whew.

    Jennifer Dougan

  3. Dawn on May 7, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Love meeting you today dear Jennifer and ready your words. I needed the fresh breeze of grace it provided. So proud of you for pushing forward in the run. It is worth the pain. πŸ˜‰ Just like the wrestling and the discipling we endure at His gentle hands.
    Bless you!

  4. Brian Miller on May 7, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    you are right…good on you for getting out there…and pushing yourself…nothing worth chasing comes without that kind of perseverence as well…def some nice lessons…not always the easiest though…smiles.

  5. Marisa Slusarcyk on May 8, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Lovely reminder. Seems that I am forgetting to breathe which is making me forget the other necessities of life. Like that Father God of ours! As long as I breathe I should give Him thanks for the air that fills my lungs!

  6. Anonymous on May 8, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement to keep pressing forward, to keep going! It's so clear to see from the example of running, gets a little murkier in my real life.

  7. Lisa notes... on May 8, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    "Don't stop. To the next driveway."
    I remember playing those mind games with myself too when I used to run. I even sort of miss it. ha.

    But I love your conclusion to keep going because we're so close…so close….

  8. Jennifer Dougan on May 12, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Thank you, Dawn! πŸ™‚ Nice to meet you too. So glad you found freshness and grace in my words.

    Jennifer Dougan

  9. Jennifer Dougan on May 12, 2014 at 10:11 pm


    You remind me of some Aussies I knew. πŸ™‚ Where did you first pick up "Good on you"? Fun. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the encouragement. "Nothing worse chasing comes without.." Yes.

    Jennifer Dougan

  10. Jennifer Dougan on May 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm


    Yes, good wisdom! "As long as we breathe we should give him thanks."

    Have a wonderful week, Marisa,
    Jennifer Dougan

  11. Jennifer Dougan on May 12, 2014 at 10:22 pm


    I agree. It's get murkier in other life things, huh?

    Have a great week,
    Jennifer Dougan

  12. Jennifer Dougan on May 12, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Hi LisaNotes,

    The sheer determination is what sustains us in so many things, huh? Thanks for stopping in,
    Jennifer Dougan

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