I had spent all day Saturday writing my brains out. Ten-plus pages of dissertation. I felt like I was flying, like I could do anything. The end of the chapter gleamed at me quietly, surely. But Sunday morning I felt like I was slogging through mud. Words floated and twisted around on the page. My thoughts were impossible to corral into anything so coherent as a sentence, let alone an argument. The end of the chapter vanished, its little light winking out before my eyes.
“Ebbs and flows,” my sister texted me when I told her. I nodded, gulped, stared at my phone in my hand.
* * *
I was running circles on a blue track on Sunday afternoon. Since I’ve been cleared to run again I’ve been gradually increasing my distances each time, but it’s impossible not to notice how altered I am. Now I struggle and gasp to reach the point where I used to feel like I was just hitting my sweet spot.
I ran until I thought I couldn’t take another step, until I convinced myself it was ok to let myself off, that I was just starting and there would be no shame in taking it easy. Then I glanced at the distance I’d run and blinked once, twice.
“I’ve already gone farther than I did yesterday,” I said to myself. I wondered, and I kept running.
* * *
We were talking through a research proposal yesterday morning, my student and I. She’s working on her senior thesis. I’m working on my dissertation. We commiserate. She was frustrated because advisors kept pointing her to an instruction sheet instead of answering her questions. I encouraged her to take it one step at a time.
“None of us have ever done this before,” she said. “None of us know whether we can do these things, but we keep plugging away and then after a while they get done.”
I sighed and said yes.
This post is part of my oneword 2013 series because what is faith if not this learning, over and over again, that sometimes you have to just keep going? meet other oneworders here.