My morning jog came to an unexpected pause as I navigated through the thick branches of a downed tree. I had a mileage goal in mind and turning back would have left me well short of the projected distance. The tree was split at the base, likely the result of a recent string of fierce thunderstorms which swept through the area. Up until this point my stride was swift and unimpeded. It seemed this obstacle was big enough to slow my overall pace and hinder my workout. I took an iPhone picture of it, and made my decision.
I carefully climbed, ducked, and weaved through the tangled lumber and jumped right back into a rhythm. I wondered if proceeding was a wise choice or just plain dangerous. There was a potential for additional roadblocks ahead, perhaps larger and more difficult. Yet as I continued forward, these concerns fell to the wayside. The path opened up, welcoming me deeper into the cool shaded woods.
With fresh legs and light feet the miles ticked away on the iPhone RunKeeper until I reached my original goal. Normally, I would have stopped there and been satisfied, but this run was different. Dealing with the fallen tree had allowed me to catch my breath momentarily. This ultimately worked out in my favor as I felt stronger and was able to keep going. When I finally finished, I had added another half mile to the run.
Exhausted but exhilarated, I walked home and considered how obstacles can actually make us stronger in all aspects of life. While these speed bumps can slow us down, they force a period of careful thought on how to proceed. How we choose to deal with these will determine our success. It was Frank A. Clark who said, “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”
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