The Plot Twist of Chapter 42…

Kristen on the Mountain

I’m pretty sure there comes a time we have to make peace with our mortality. Not in a morbid, fearful way. But in a richness that seasons how we spend our breath.

I am there.

———-

The morning was early. The sky was black with sleep and quiet. We sped down the ramp onto an I-385 awash in fluorescent lamplight. The windows down; the music deafening. Our smiles as wide as the road was long.

“WE ARE INVINCIBLE!” we bellowed to the irritated night.

Two university girls inoculated with independence and youth. Because death lived a million miles away.

My claims at invincibility have long been disproven. The prosecutor of time has won his case. After enduring the evidence debunking my assertion, I was sentenced to adulthood. It’s been a pretty civil gig; some of the guards (aka, Metabolism, Wrinkles, Gray, and Mammograms) can have a prickle about their way but they keep me in line. They smirk wryly and whisper, “Time is short.”

The years may have altered what they can see, but I’ve kept a rebel’s fire lit in my soul. Their grim declaration is but an invitation to live. To really live. To drive-the-car-30-miles-past-empty live.

———-

At best, I’m probably half way done. And, you know what? I like it here. During the era of invincibility, I thought little of wasting time and opportunity.  They were abundant commodities; you remember the law of supply and demand from economics class.

As the supply of time decreases, its value increases.

So I made a list of things I’d like to do before I cash in my chips:

  • Milk a cow
  • Live downtown in a major city
  • Spend at least one night at a cool place in each state
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Have long hair again
  • Attend the Kentucky Derby
  • Visit a synagogue
  • Speak in the auditorium at North Greenville University (the room where I gave my life to Jesus)
  • Publish a book
  • Pay off a house
  • Get my CWP
  • Open a transition home for formerly incarcerated women
  • Have a piece published in Southern Living
  • Lead a ministry that lasts longer than I do
  • Run 5 half marathons before I am 50
  • Leave someone a $100 tip
  • Take a silent retreat at a convent
  • Vacation on a dude ranch
  • Get a Bible degree

And I remembered that one of my favorite things in all of the Bible happens in a Chapter 42. Check it out.

I’m 42, and I want that.

I started training for a half marathon even though I had packed on 20 pounds during a bout with depression.

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It wasn’t pretty, friends. No, siree.

The new year rolled around about a month or so into my training, and I committed to a theme for the year.

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#TakingItAllBack. You see, I believe there is an enemy of my soul. And all of my life, he’s worked to sideline me for good. Being molested as a five year-old was part of that plan. For a good chunk of time, I put up no fight as his tactics looked a lot like fun. His most aggressive assault was three years ago. He’s taken a lot from me, and to be quite frank, I’ve willingly given him a lot too. But this year, I’m reclaiming ground the Lord has already won. Taking it all back. Chapter 42.

Race training was brutal. My mind game was usually off. I abhor winter. And….let’s just say, I’m not very aerodynamic. I couldn’t complete my 7 or 8 mile runs on the first attempts. And the longest distance I ever ran was 9.2 (my training schedule called for at least 10).

The race was this past Saturday. It wasn’t pretty friends. No, sirree.

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I trained at a 10 min/mile pace but clocked an 11 min/mile race pace. I’m not jazzed about the time (2:23:40), and the last two miles were miserable. The leg muscles weren’t keen on having continuously repeated the same movement for two solid hours.

Ugly.

But, you know what? I finished. I didn’t walk one step of it. I ran my race.

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———-


And I had my own cheering section.

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I am a blubbering mess right here in my swivel desk chair.

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Weeping.

Y’all. My people will never know how they put fight in me. What a depiction of how life should be – doing the hard thing while people who love you cheer you on.

Still weeping.

I don’t care if you’re 13 or 31 or 73; today is a beautiful gift. Breath is a treasure. Time is in short supply.

LIVE.

#TakeItAllBack

Run your race. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Or perfect. Or even close to that.

Because. Chapter 42.

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Roll down your windows, blare the music, smile crazy big, and bellow to the irritated night, “THIS IS LIVING!”

PS – My CWP class is next weekend.

[Feature Image: Jake Bellucci]
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6 Comments

  1. Bette Cox
    March 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Congratulations, Cookie! Just a reminder – as long as you’re doing what the Holy Spirit wants to do (in you, with you, through you), you CAN do all things through Christ! Sometimes he just wants to run! 🙂

    • Cookie Cawthon
      March 10, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      So very true, Bette. So very true. That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, but it does mean we have access to an unstoppable strength. I was a grateful recipient of that strength about Mile 11. 🙂 Thank your for reading and commenting!

  2. Martha Davis
    Martha DavisReply
    March 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Cookie, I’m so proud of you! It will be a while before I’m ready to even train for a marathon but this is my year, too. And I’m claiming that same Chapter 42 because I’ve lived the earlier part of that book for the past 8 years.

    I’ve taken some baby steps and I’m taking bigger steps now. Satan thought he could hold me back but he was wrong.! Just before Chapter 42, verse 12, I came out on the other side with a closer relationship to Jesus. I’m sure Satan never counted on that.

    Taking a CWP class is on my list (we had several identical items) but I can’t make it this Saturday. This Saturday, I’ll be driving for the first time in over a year! I’m seriously considering renting a cherry red convertible for the day so that I can pick up anyone who was in my cheering section for those 8 long years. I’ll drive the speed limit, making frequent stops at the homes of those I love, honking the horn furiously and shouting, “This is my year! Check out Chapter 42!”

    • Cookie Cawthon
      March 10, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      All the yeses in all the known world, Martha! I sooooooo hope you rent that cherry red convertible! Do it!! THAT’S LIVING! <3

  3. JESSIE PARKER
    JESSIE PARKERReply
    March 11, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Cookie you are such an inspiration! I love your blog! I’m claiming Chapter 42! You have inspired me to get moving on my “things to do”! Keep doing what you do. You are an amazing woman!

    • Cookie Cawthon
      March 11, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      YOU are a strong, beautiful woman, Jessie! Keep doing you, and thank you for reading and commenting!

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