The nearly full moon shines bright in the dark early morning sky as my friend and I pound our feet on the broken pavement.
We jog past the mosque and nod to the men with round hats on Asian heads, walking with prayer rugs tucked under their arms. They are on the way home from early morning prayers spoken in Arabic.
And we are on our way to losing the weight.
Not the physical weight, though we both try to keep our mommy bodies in shape during our jogs through this Indonesian neighborhood. No, we work hard today and many days at shedding the weight we women like to carry in our souls. The weight of comparison. The burden of envy. The baggage of insecurity.
My friend is amazing—beautiful both inside and out, insightful writer, great mom, caring wife, friend who goes the extra mile—in this case, literally. I could easily chase after her accomplishments, sweating and panting and never catching up to who she is. But no, I refuse to turn her into competition, into a time to beat. And she has promised to do the same for me.
Sometimes my friends allow me to see myself through their eyes. I see hints of insecurity as they compare their time spent to my ministry invested, their talents to my gifts, their lives to my choices.
They don’t understand that I serve from a broken place—one that changed every three years or two years or six months when I was a kid. I can enter into other cultures because I have spent my whole life moving into other people’s worlds, hoping they’d let me in.
They see my friendships with head-covered women and envy the ability to reach out, having no idea that I can’t say no to someone who reaches out to me. Because I spent my life as a Nobody moving around hoping somebody would be my friend.
I give and serve and make friends, fearing rejection, but afraid to settle for the alternative—isolation. And so I run head first into opportunities, sometimes tripping on my own feet in the process.
And though it rarely happens, sometimes friends envy the way I use words, having no idea that I type with fear of saying it wrong. That I wonder if anyone will ever read my thoughts. That I worry they will read them, and judge the heart exposed in letters.
And honestly, even with promises I’ve made and friends I love, I oftentimes enter a race I don’t really want to run—one I must lose. I see my own friends and wish I was as creative or as patient or as musical or as smart or as beautiful as they are.
I withhold applause, afraid to see them win, thinking their victory is my loss. But it’s just not true.
We talk between the breaths—my running partner and I. We reach the intersection and choose to turn the corner, side by side. We are losing, and we both win.
photo credit, jayneandd