I remember playing more than a fair amount of front yard games growing up. We liked kickball and lazy man’s softball, dodgeball or fox and the [something something I can’t remember now]? We took our games seriously, and we played for keeps. Most of our games had a sort of Lord of the Flies, winner is king (or queen) kind of feel. Kids are superior arbiters of fairness and winning, usually graceless winning, but whatever. But we had our generous moments, too.
After a particularly horrid kickball kick, we might grant the kicker a do over. We might allow another chance at bat, or another turn at QB, or the chance to be fox again if it might mean we could play longer, and better. We wanted to win, and sometimes that meant giving someone else a do over.
I awoke on the day of my last (not final) marathon ready. Food packed, clothing laid out, shoes ready, breakfast digesting. I was ready at the start line though I could not find any of the buddies I had planned to start with. I had my tunes and my super cool socks and my jacket and my plan. I was doing fine until about somewhere between miles 6 and 8. If you’re doing the math, that’s kind of early in a long run to get in trouble. My knee turned to painful jello. And that sucker hurt for the rest of the race. I was slower than day old dirt. Alone. And mad.
I fumed up and over hills. I mumbled through water stops. I cursed at every time clock. And I decided that even if my knee spontaneously combusted and I would never be able to run again, I would not quit. And I didn’t. I finished, mad. Tired. And a 2 time marathoner.
While that cognitively is awesome, and I am cognitively a proud little runner girl, I still want a do over. I want answers. I want to know why that day, of all days, my knee decided to wack out. I want to hit ONE of the goals I had set.
On the circular needle, I cast on 68 stitches. I diligently knitted the inch of stupid ribbing. I decide I didn’t like the gauge (or tension) and decide to rip it apart and start again. Another inch of ribbing. Too small. I started this project no fewer than six times until I decided to just keep going. After all, the project is just a test run for me, and I don’t care. Except I do care.
So much so that nearly two thirds through, I ripped out half of it and tried to fix a janky spot. This did not go well. It’s nearly finished. It is far from it. I get a do over on this; it’s a two piece project.
I have found the double edged blade of grace. While do overs are a mighty grace, a chance to erase our mistakes, they cost. I can still taste my failure or mistakes like a bitterness on the back of the tongue. I’m still dissatisfied; I’m aware, painfully, of my imperfection. I carry with me the knowledge that things did not go as planned, that I did not perform as I expected.
I’m trying. I’m trying to find that place where cognitive dissonance gives way to thankfulness. I’m learning, again, to grant myself the same gracious do over that I would grant others.
Do overs. What do you think?