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Last month, a friend encouraged me to perform a monologue of a story I’d shared that night. I told him if he found me a stage, I’d do a monologue. Here’s the start of the story I’ll now be sharing at Open Space Cafe next Monday at 7:00 PM. I’d call it more a reading than a monologue…

I’m used to running fast and hard.

So when it became clear in May that I needed to stop running altogether, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

It’s one thing to realize you need to slow your pace a bit. It’s quite another to realize you need to walk the rest of the race when you’re used to keeping at the front of the crowd.

But to step out of the race altogether? Unacceptable.

It’s quitting.

And I don’t quit.

Maybe it’s different if you get a major injury while running a race. I’ve heard stories about people limping their way to the finish line. But if someone’s run over by a bus, she’s probably not gonna finish that race.

When my husband told me in May that I faced the emotional equivalent of being run over by a bus, I had difficulty accepting his words. I knew I had nothing left to give, but stepping out of the race simply wasn’t an option.

“I think you need to stop looking for a job,” he said. “And stop collecting unemployment. Stop couponing. Stop running errands all over the place to save money. Stop everything that’s not rest and healing.”

His words came days after rejection from a job I thought I was created to do and would never discover. I’d had my eye on this organization for nearly two years, more than two hundred job applications and a dozen interviews ago.

When the paid mentorship position opened, it felt like a dream come true. Perhaps I’d been turned down all those other hundreds of times because this was the job for me.

After four interviews, we started moving forward in faith that I’d be offered the position. We made health insurance decisions accordingly. We dreamed of what we’d do with the income. I thought about life alongside eight high-risk kids.

Then I got the phone call.

One of three final candidates for two positions and I didn’t make the cut.

I had a 66% chance of getting that job. Ten years of experience mentoring, running kids programs, and pouring into the lives of at-risk youth. Six years of eagerly waiting for this kind of work.

And I didn’t make the cut.

I suddenly had no sense of what it meant for me to put one foot in front of the other. I wasn’t sure what race I was even running anymore.

My husband and I retreated to the Catholic Grotto later that week to pray and process.

It was there that God finally sent me a talking donkey…

To be continued after Monday’s reading…

Click here to read Part II of Running the Race.