ECHOES OF LOVE’S HOUSE
The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.
I was neurotic for years. I was anxious and depressed and selfish. Everyone kept telling me to change. I resented them and I agreed with them, and I wanted to change, but simply couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried. Then one day someone said to me, Don’t change. I love you just as you are. Those words were music to my ears: Don’t change, Don’t change. Don’t change . . . I love you as you are. I relaxed. I came alive. And suddenly I changed!
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
Lisa lied on her bed replaying thoughts of her run with Mia. She knew she could have run better. She didn’t know why she didn’t. She felt Mia took it easy on her during the run, but let her know who was the better runner at Mason’s Hill. It bothered Lisa. Around 9:30 p.m. Nicole texted Lisa.
Hi Lisa. Mia texted me. Said you ran g8t. She liked your grit on Mason’s Hill. I told her you don’t quit.
Lisa read Nicole’s text eight times. She mistakenly thought Mia was not impressed with how she ran. And, she judged her wrong, Mia was trying to put her in her place. She felt a lot better. Her mood changed. Now, she was excited. She texted back:
It was a good run. Mia’s nice. Mason’s Hill is tough. It killed on the last two runs. My legs felt like rubber. I wished I did hill work with you.
Nicole texted back.
You have a few weeks to get ready for the season. Do double workouts. Train on Mason’s Hill in the a.m. Do your run in the afternoon. I’ll e-mail the workout schedule Coach gave me. Try it.
Lisa and Nicole continued to text for a half hour. Nicole caught Lisa up on the conditioning program the coach was putting the team through. She text about her roommate. She text about how she and her roommate walked around campus trying to figure out where they would be going to class.
Lisa didn’t have much to say. She asked some questions, but her life was pretty much the same. She’d be going to high school. It didn’t seem like a big deal to her.
For the next two weeks, Lisa trained on Mason’s Hill in the morning and did the same running workout Nicole was doing in the afternoon. Lisa’s mom and dad asked if she was pushing herself to hard. Lisa shrugged like it was no big deal. Not a day went by when she didn’t fall asleep by nine.
Nicole’s classes at State University started two weeks before they started for Lisa. Lisa noticed Nicole wasn’t texting as much. Nicole might send a single text at night, never during the day. Lisa knew it was different. It was no longer Nicole and Lisa. It was Lisa and her mom and her dad. She loved them alright, she just didn’t want them as friends.
Two weeks before school started, Lisa started running early in the morning with Mia, Marie, and Leah. They were the three best runners on the high school cross country team. Mia and Marie were seniors and Leah a junior. Lisa enjoyed running with them. They kept her in their conversations. They made her feel she was already a part of the team. Lisa felt she was getting stronger. She never told her teammates or Coach Kappa about her workouts. Her runs with Mia, Marie, and Leah were extra. She easily stayed with them. Once they finished running, Mia, Marie and Leah went off together, Lisa went home, had breakfast, rested, then ran to Mason’s Hill for her hill work. In the afternoon, she continued following the university cross-country workout schedule.
School was only in session a week when the Jaguars, the nickname for Nickerson High School, were having their first cross-country meet. It was an open invitational to other county high schools. The course was unfamiliar to Lisa. All she knew was that it was 5000 meters or 5K. She texted Nicole.
First race is tomorrow. We’re in the county invitational at Medford. You know the course?
Lisa hoped Nicole wasn’t tied up with school or friends and answered her. She stared at her iPhone. No answer. Fifteen minutes later, Lisa set the iPhone down next to her bed, turned off the light, pulled the covers up over her head when the text ring tone sounded. Lisa grabbed for the iPhone, did the fingerprint thing, and opened up the text.
Hi Lisa. Got your txt. 2 years ago I ran Medford. 2 major hills. 1 at the half way part, the other a quarter mile from the end. Don’t start too fast. Pick it up on the hills. Let me know how U do? Don’t forget the Thanksgiving Marathon. I entered both of us. Only 2 and half months. Good Luck. Nicole
Lisa’s spirits picked up. Nicole didn’t forget about her. She didn’t forget about the marathon. She even entered her. Lisa got out of bed, went to her desk, turned the desk lamp on, and opened her laptop. She made a countdown calendar, printed it out, and attached it to wall with sticky pins. She had a big red circle around the Saturday before Thanksgiving. That was the day for the Turkey Day marathon. She thought about it for a minute, 26.2 miles. She’d done a lot of distance work. She’d never run 26.2 miles. She decided tomorrow to text Nicole and ask if she should change her training for the marathon. .