Last Thursday morning, I headed out the door for a simple 5 mile run. The air was cool in the pre-dawn darkness and it felt good to be moving.
I rounded a corner and ran past a construction project the city refers to euphemistically as “infrastructure enhancement,” a nice term for a new sewer lift station. Being the machine and process geek that I am, the two matching Cat backhoes caught my attention. I was comparing them and their tasks in the project and….
Wham. I nearly went down, hard.
While staring at the backhoes, I snagged the edge of a hole created in the pavement by the heavy equipment. I turned my left foot and ankle pretty severely. It hurt a lot. I yelled and came to a complete stop. “You idiot!” I told myself. “Why didn’t you pay attention instead of day dreaming about big machines?” It was a serious scolding.
I walked a bit to check the damage. Finding I could walk, I tried to run and continued slowly along, not wanting to give up the run. I eventually decided to turn around sooner than planned and cut the run to 4 miles. Later in the day, I wondered about the wisdom of continuing, as I spent much of the work day shoeless, an ace bandage holding a bag of ice to my foot as I popped more Vitamin I.
During the run, though, I thought about how fortunate I was to have this pain as a lesson. I did a stupid thing and had this evidence of my own stupidity. I knew it would be temporary (shoot, I ran 17 miles on the foot two days later). But the lesson was bigger. And, as I slogged through the rest of the run, a sobering connection hit me.
My mind shifted to the story which had emerged a couple days earlier about Idaho Senator Larry Craig who ended up resigning from the US Senate over poor choices he made in a Minneapolis restroom earlier this summer. Whatever the actual story is for the Senator, in a moment, he made a very bad choice. That choice cost him his Senate seat, his credibility, his integrity, his name. All because he wasn’t paying attention. Wham, down he went.
Choices I make have impact on my family, my integrity, my career, my conscience. I have to watch my step. The very repairable damage to my left foot was a tangible reminder to me to watch my step. The ancient saying came to mind; “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”