At one point today, I found myself…

28 10 2011

By Jon Higgins, Medical Student. From 19 September 2012.

At one point today, I found myself

in the middle of a 5-kilometer run

(interrupted by malnourished, homeless children)

on a lakeside trail

(the lake was filled with trash and human excrement)

in a refreshing late monsoon drizzle

(contaminated water splashing on my ankles)

to the melody of the midday adhan echoing from distant minarets

(drowned out by a never-ceasing chorus of car horns)

this is my life.

beautiful, romantic, tranquil.

(dirty, hopeless, chaotic)

i love it.

(there is great work to be done.)

It is terribly difficult to explain to people what it is like to be here, and why I choose to do what I do. Even harder to explain why I actually like it. This poetic memoir of yesterday’s run hardly does it full justice, but it does capture one aspect that I think my fellow runners will “get”.

Runners understand love/hate. Here I mean it in the sense of comfortability. And runners understand that love/hate not just theoretically, but actually. They know that running uphill is terrible, that hitting the wall at the halfway point is terrible, and that most people think they’re nutty if not crazy for what they willingly do. They also know how those things stop mattering after a while, particularly in light of how satisfying it can be to overcome them.

It is that same satisfaction which keeps me coming back. It began with a calling, solidifed with joy. Boy am I glad that I have been called to a work which I find so profoundly life-giving.

The Beatles didn’t get it quite right. All you need is love/hate. At least as long as we live in this broken, broken world.

Because at some point you’ll realize or re-realize that there is great value in suffering through what we “hate” for something much greater. And that in the end, love is much, much bigger.




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