Today was a midwinter dream: 67 degrees. I parked the car at Roger Williams Park and tied the laces on my running shoes. The walk signal flashed and off I went, my first run in three months. Ten minutes in, I felt heavy, my breath felt strained, my body felt heavy. I slowed to a walk, hands overhead. I knew this would be difficult. I never run during the winter or summer if they’re extremely cold or hot. So every spring and autumn, I have to start back at square one. I have to endure those first awkward runs that feel slow and plodding. I have to fight for flow and pace. I have to learn how to run all over again.
Yesterday, I was back at square one in another way. I sat at a table in a café across from a friend from church who agreed to meet with me and organize a budget. Mr. H is a father of four daughters, a grandpa to a sweet little girl and a former helicopter pilot. He sat down and opened a new page on his legal pad, with my name written across the top. I had been here before, telling my story, explaining all the “situations” and writing numbers out, line by line. We squinted over a spreadsheet on my computer and etched out numbers on a legal pad.
It wasn’t easy; I held a napkin in my hand, afraid I’d start crying and he battled with the right-click mouse button on my laptop. “Not much of a Mac guy.” There were some hard questions, some jokes, some laughing. But an hour later, I hadn’t cried and he let me do all the right-clicking. We had some numbers figured out and I found a way to love Excel.
A few weeks ago, I sent a friend an email. “Things are coming together. Slowly.” I won’t master my budget tomorrow. We still have a long way to go. And I won’t remember how to run for a few weeks.Sensing my impatience, my friend wrote back with a phrase she’d heard in South America: “Poco a Poco.”
Little by little.