Mid-Stride Moments

Apparently, when a person is actively running, there comes a point when they're suspended in air. Neither foot is touching the ground. They're temporarily untethered to the earth in this mid-stride moment.

My incredible friend told me this fact when I went to visit her in West Virginia a couple of weeks ago. She was making a point. I imagined that she was referencing a hypothetical runner who might look like this: strong and fit, toned and capable, disciplined and determined.

However, given my current stage of life and fitness, I temporarily ruined her moment (and the valid point she was making) because I instead envisioned a runner like this: someone who tries hard, but drags their feet and probably trips a fair amount.

While I was mentally pondering the mechanics of a human stride, wondering if all people experience both feet momentarily lifted off the ground while running, or if some people awkwardly shuffle without achieving actual liftoff, my friend continued. 

She was in the process of moving across country. (That's why we had gathered one last time for a rapid-fire visit that spanned from 1 PM to 1 AM one Saturday where we talked and laughed incessantly, prayed together, ate takeout, went shopping, and took a hike where she sprained her ankle in the West Virgina wilderness. I digress, but we covered a lot in 12 hours.)

Back to the cross-country move. As she sat on her couch, ice bag on her swelling ankle, she told me that she felt like that suspended runner. Neither of her feet felt grounded in place. Metaphorically, she was mid-stride, hovering in the air, wrapping up one era in one location, headed 800 miles away to another place, no longer fully in one place and not yet fully in the other. She was just waiting, just hovering.

How exhilarating! Also, how terrifying. She and her husband had built a life, a great life. Successful careers, great friends, an amazing church family, neighbors, connections. They knew all the back routes while driving. They had a favorite grocery store and hiking routes and paths to walk. So familiar! So many great memories!

Yet that foot of the familiar was lifted from the ground, and the next foot was about to land in a new location. There would be a new career with new challenges, new colleagues, new neighbors, new friends, and a new house. Everything ahead was still unknown. They'd need to discover all new routines, routes, and rhythms.

In that moment, even as she sat on the couch with her leg propped out in front of her, I knew what she was saying was true: my friend was mid-stride. Was it going to be a perfect run? Probably not. After all, when you come to think of it, most running feels messy and hard, even if you're doing it really well.  

This week, she officially moved, all of her earthly possessions in tow. I write this now with tears stinging my eyes. My friend is even farther away, far enough that I no longer can drive there and back for a weekend visit. But mostly, my tears come because her foot has finally landed. She's running a new path, blazing a new trail.

I am deeply, profoundly proud of her. This new journey might be messy and hard, but I have no doubt she's going to do it really well.


  1. MichelleMay 19, 2024

    I love this! Beautifully said and I so feel the complexity of the tears!


Back to Top