Trusting After the Fall

July 25, 2022

By Nicole

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It was about 15 years ago when I fell in love with distance running. I was a young whipper snapper, high on hopes and dreams for the future and zealous from the Father’s love. I had moved in with two young women I didn’t know, forfeited my dreams of homeownership, and gave up my suburban ideals. That is, to say, I moved to the hood ya’ll, LOL. Thank God that was a temporary assignment, and that Cleveland’s west side hood is not the same as Cleveland’s east side hood, SMH. Either way, I made it through!

During this time of my life I got into running when my Caucasian roommate hipped me to this new favorite pastime. I make mention of her race not for any other reason but to highlight that so often it is suburban communities that benefit and participate in running distance in their neighborhood. You simply are not going to see too many in the inner city, jogging the streets of the ghetto. On a rare occasion, you may find some athletes getting in their miles, but that is more than likely going to happen in the safety of their school’s track field. So, I learned how to run distance from my suburban, white roommate who had never lived a day of her life in the hood before this season. God is funny.

I fell in love with running so much that I did my first (and last) half marathon in 2012. I was so driven that I would work all day, attend evening classes for my MBA, then run for miles on the treadmill. (Whew! Shout out to 20-something-Nicole) I would run in the snow, on ice and in high winds. I would run up hills and in the rain. I would run alone or in a running club and even purchased some Black Girl’s Run apparel, I was that die hard. One night, a friend and I ran ten miles throughout the city of Cleveland in preparation for our race. It was amazing.

I say all that to say, when I went for my run this time last year in the park around the corner from my house, I thought nothing of it. I had been running at that park for a while and had been running for years. I was at ease.

You know how it is when you’ve been doing something forever and it’s routine and almost even mundane? Not that I would say running was easy for me because it definitely was not! But, my expectations for this particular run were predicated on the decade plus experience I had, which led me into an unassuming place. I was in a place of safety.

[Tweet “Now if you have lived life long enough, you know, life is not safe.”]

And in the words of C.S Lewis, neither is God.

This place of safety was quickly disturbed when I rolled my ankle over a random buckeye that had the nerve to be plopped in the center of my running course. I went down without any warning and sat dazed and confused until I located the perpetrator. Most of you know it took me almost a year to recover (primarily because I would not slow down and did all the wrong things) but I did finally heal. The thing is, though my body is physically, mostly recovered (I still have soreness in my ankle and suspect I probably always will) my muscle memory is now engraved with this abrupt sudden pain from my injury.

The bottom line is, my body no longer feels safe.

Yes I can run again. I take my time and am always on the lookout for random items in the path even when inside at the gym on the treadmill. But so much of my ease is now gone and since my ankle injury recovery, I have dealt with tightness in my hips resulting in intense back pain.

After my last adjustment, my chiropractor told me that my body is tight from the injury and in so many of our sessions I am super stiff. It takes  a lot for me to relax and loosen up enough for him to do the adjustments. I am self aware enough to know that some of this is due to my issues with trusting men, however, I now suspect it also has to do with my body’s own remembrance of pain.

How often do we go through something and we get through that thing but then somewhere in our psyche the pain and trauma of it is still lurking?

A lover betrays you with infidelity. A friend cuts you down with unkind words. A loved one lets you down when you needed them most?

We’ve all had those experiences and have each been on both sides of those universal coins. So, how do you revert back to that place of safety?

It is difficult to trust again when trust has been broken. It is pretty much impossible. But what I can’t deny, is that I have experienced supernatural redemption in my life. I have experienced the impossible.

I remember a moment on an airplane when my mom offered for me to lay on her lap and take a nap because I was so tired from traveling. I didn’t want to because of the trauma in our own relationship. I did not feel safe for most of our relationship but I did as she suggested because I was that tired. Looking back I am grateful I did because now I have this memory of resting in her arms. And if you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I also have the memory of our relationship being healed and redeemed.

I may have these other areas where I am struggling with feeling safe, and dealing with the effects of being previously hurt, but I also have the testimony of being healed. Of time being redeemed. Of trust being restored.

So even though it’s really difficult to trust again, and it’s really hard to be 100 percent unassuming in an area you were dragged through the mud in, it’s still possible. Because with God anything is. 

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