Running with conviction
I don’t know what it is lately, but the homesickness is definitely starting to hit me hard. Mostly I miss my dog. Which sounds lame, but I really don’t care. She’s perfect and I miss her.
College basketball season is nearly over so my life is starting to get back on schedule. I started running again yesterday – did a 5k through the woods. It was really nice, I felt free almost. Today I tried to run the same route but my head wasn’t in it. Half way through I just stopped. Too many thoughts crowding my adrenaline. I couldn’t concentrate on my breathing much less my route. They say nothing kills your run faster than a blister. Which I totally agree with; if you don’t have the right shoes you’re kinda screwed. But to be honest, there’s nothing worse than your head not being in the game. My heart and my limbs want to keep pushing forward but my head is dragging its heels.
Sure you can tell yourself “mind over matter” but it doesn’t mean a thing if your mind is 500 miles away from the path in front of you. It’s so frustrating. I guess I’ll take tomorrow off and try again the day after. If anything that’ll help my runner’s knee that’s starting to present in my right leg.
The center is good; same old, same old. Haven’t gotten any cases that are super crazy or interesting lately. Yesterday we got a snapping turtle that weighed about 15kg. It was shot in the head and had major skull fractures so we euthanized it. Today we flight tested an american crow. It’s x-rays looked great and it was eating everything we offered. But the problem was that it wouldn’t fly. Today was the 5th day that it was non-flighted with a bilateral wing droop. At that point there wasn’t much we could do for it. You can’t help something that has no fight in it and won’t try. So we euthanized it.
We probably euthanize some animal or multiple animals everyday. It gets really sad some days. For example, when we’re brought a litter of cottontail rabbits that are under 50g. They’re completely healthy infant rabbits, but because they’re under 50g we know they won’t survive in our care. We could give them medication, fluids, warm shelter, and feed them every 4 hours and it still wouldn’t be comparable to what their mother could offer them. Even after all that, they’d still only have a 20% chance of survival. So we don’t have another choice but to euthanize them. Those days are some of the hardest. They don’t happen every day, but they’re still difficult. I’ve learned so much in the past month. But the hardest lesson to learn was that no matter how much supportive care you give to something, it can still die on you.
We try to do everything we can to rehabilitate animals to go back into their natural habitat. But sometimes there’s just nothing we can do. It’s hard, but we turn our attention to those we can help, and somehow that makes what we do worth it.
Now I’m about to talk about something that may shock everyone who’s close to me: God.
As I’ve said before, my friend Maggie did the 11 in 11 world race last year. Last night we stayed up until 4am talking about her trip and God and religion. The way she talks about her experience and her journey and her relationship with God is kind of mesmerizing to listen to. I’m almost jealous that I didn’t grow up with strong faith like the way she did. I’ve never once mentioned any of this to anyone. I mean, I’ve always respected religion and those who are devoted and all that. But I’ve always just sat on the side lines while everyone else believed and I just kept my thoughts to myself (even the incomplete, confused ones).
I decided a really long time ago that religion just wasn’t for me. I can’t say I’m atheist nor agnostic. I don’t deny He exists and I don’t deny the ability to believe in Him. It’s more confusion than anything else.
I do believe that the world would be in complete ruin if people didn’t have faith in a higher power. Society would literally collapse on itself if religion wasn’t present in our world today. I believe that having faith in something greater than yourself is essential, no matter what you believe in.
I also believe that my Nana watches over me. Where else would she be doing that if not Heaven?
Many of you know I spent some time in the hospital a few years ago. It was a really rough time for me and being so sick and helpless for so long really did a number on my mental health. I’m a lot better now but I still have days where all I want to do is lay in bed and stare at the ceiling for the next 12+ hours. Those are the days when whatever faith I have in God is truly tested. For a long time post hospital I was really angry. Everyone told me that everything happens for a reason. Well shoot. I almost died on the operating table. Except I didn’t. Someone tell me what was the reason for that? Why am I still here? What reason do I have for being here?
Make no mistake, I do not regret anything in my life. I know how blessed I am for the things I have and the people who love me. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to figure out my reason for being on this earth. And that journey of self discovery is one I know I have to take alone. No one can answer that question for me.
I can’t talk to God the way that Maggie does or pray for things the way my sister does. Maybe I will some day, but right now the only way I can feel or hear Him at all is when I’m running.
I’m not going to start going to church every Sunday. I may go every once in a while and see how it goes. For now though my mind is wide open and I’m just looking for answers. I told you guys I wasn’t the same girl who left IL a month ago. This place is changing me. These people are changing me. My story is definitely taking a turn that I didn’t see coming. But don’t worry – I’ll always be that headstrong person with big goals and no fear.