Brooke fuller

Finish Soft

Dear someone! Pease take me to Remington Park ASAP!

There are three things I love in addition to chocolate milk, sweatpants, and sitting by my fire…and I blame my father for all of them. Watching cars race around a dirt track, watching track meets (specifically the 400, 800, and mile), and watching horse races. No. I have never been to the horse races, but I know I love them…and I also love Seabiscuit, Secretariat, and the replay of Rich Strike winning the Kentucky Derby. If you know my dad, you might know he was a race car driver and that he was a big supporter of my track team back in high school, but what you might not know is that once upon a time he told me to watch Seabiscuit the night before a track meet to make me run faster…which was the start of my love for watching horses race.

As I said, I’ve never been to the horse races so it’s possible these events are terrible places to go, but let me live in my land where the horses are loved and taken care of and there are no bad parts to it.

There is a similarity between these things I love. You get to the white flag (the one that means last lap, not the one that means surrender) or the last hundred yards of a mile race (run by humans) or the last (I don’t know what the horses last straight-away is) bit of the horse race and the spectators get excited and stand up and are like “woop woop finish strong!” (Or…KICK!!!! In the screaming voice of Coach Pruitt that I can still hear in my core. Hopefully followed by a “good job Phoebe” because that’s what he coined me as in junior high. [Let’s just say I didn’t have the best form running as small person who grew quite quickly which led to a nickname from one of the greatest characters from an iconic TV series.] Anyway.)

As a not high school student, I get to be a spectator at track meets! Here are some common behaviors of mid- to long-distance track athletes who “finish strong.” 1) Fall down, 2) throw up, 3) throw hands on the back of head and walk slowly, 4) bend over on knees, 5) take off shoes, 6) spit, 7) dump water on head, 8) grab a Junior high girl’s face and shout 1:56 baby!!!, 9) hate track, 10) be really pumped and stand on the top of the podium at the state track meet. (I was surrounded by a lot of really talented people for several years who got that top position…some a few times.)

They finish strong, but at the point when the race is over…they stop running the race. They get to take a big fat break (or may a little break before the next race).

“Instead of finishing the year strong, why don’t we finish the year soft” (@thedailyrest).

I see the beauty of both perspectives here although the one from the quote might not be as familiar to most. Finish strong or finish soft?

Because at the end of the year, unless you die on New Years Eve, the race isn’t over. I mean it feels good to have a bit of a reset, but really you wake up January 1st and life is still life. The race isn’t over…ya just keep going.

Over the past four months, I’ve come to appreciate rest. Peace. Gratitude. Simplicity. The thought of yoga. Stillness. I swapped out running myself ragged and doing everything in an intense way and never having a moment to breathe with sitting and watching flames, reading books, writing just to write and being much more still…and I’ve found these things are really flippin’ beautiful!

I’m officially 9 days out from when Kyle allows me to decorate for Christmas. (Don’t worry all of you, “you are the weakest, worst people ever and you will die if you decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving” people; I won’t decorate your house…promise; just mine.)

As you know, Christmas comes very near to the end of year. There is a lot of hustling around in the world. Finishing strong! My first and only panic attack happened a few years ago in the middle of “The Container Store” the week of Christmas. There were people everywhere and cars everywhere and all the hustling and bustling and purchasing and shopping carts and stuff and I couldn’t get out of an aisle as I went to pick up my last present and I froze and my heart started pounding and I could barely catch my breath. (Also, Arlene I’m sure you will know I was in the container store for you…don’t apologize for wanting a container from a store that led to a panic attack…you just have a strangely wacky daughter-in-law and I’m not talking about Kara.)

If you know me, you know I love Christmas. I love the lights. I love the coziness. I love the joy, but every single year there’s so much build up and then the kids wake up and open presents and by 9:45AM I feel depressed and am ready to yank down the tree and hide it away because it’s over and we can move on. Putting it away makes me feel like it never happened so I don’t have to be depressed. I finished strong and I want it to be over, but…Kyle (who, again, lets me put decorations up early) insists on leaving things up until New Years.

I think “we finished strong!” “We did it!” “Let’s fall down and stop because we exerted so much trying to get to this point that we have nothing left to give.” But instead why not finish soft. Running well with endurance in a way that allows us to keep moving forward, but not running ourselves to the point of having to stop or fall down or puke. Because Christmas isn’t the end. It’s the beginning.

So rather than finishing the year strong. What would finishing the year soft look like? Being still. Seeking rest. Seeking peace. Having patience. Slowness. Seeking Jesus. Hebrews 12:1, 2 Timothy 4:7, Philippians 3:13-14, Acts 20:24 all mention endurance and pressing on. In the gospels, there are several times Jesus leaves the crowd and is alone. There are several places that mention Jesus walking. So many places in the Bible that He was still. He was walking with others. He was in praying. He wasn’t running around frantically.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is called “Winter Snow“.

Could’ve come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could’ve come like a forest fire
With the power of Heaven in Your flame

(But) You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Oh You could’ve swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things that we’ve scarred

(But) You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Ooh no, Your voice wasn’t in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn’t in a rushing wind
It was still, it was small, it was hidden

You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Falling, oh yeah, to the earth below
You came falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Resting in God’s presence is way better than running around like crazy wild chickens! It’s officially cold and rainy and fallish and holiday time. Consider what it would look like to finish soft.

Bye friends. 🙂

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