Restoring The Broken Path


This morning I discovered an unexpected reassurance while finishing the last two miles of my semi-weekly five-mile run. Mornings are my favorite time for contemplation and I find real solace in the machine-like process of sunrise runs with the mind shifting into “auto-pilot” mode while I move through space. This simple ritual with its rhythmic cadence seems to stoke synaptic energy enhancing creative problem solving and opening a broader resource for engaging internal questions. I think broad when running.

Since the pandemic disrupted everyone's life I have been unsettled and there has been very little comfort (or confidence) gained from my morning ritual.

Curiously my most recent run this morning had me paying close attention to the broken sidewalk below my uneven pace. For weeks I had run this path but only today did I really pay attention to careful footing. It was this imperfect path with its “hodge-podge” repair work that got me on the “right-side” of restorative thought.

Restoration is what I had been struggling with over the past Covid-filled weeks (it might be what we are all struggling with if asked point blank).

What’s the NEW post-pandemic reality going to look like?
How is it going to work?
Who is going to be in charge and how do I fit into that picture?

As I ran along the broken path, I took a closer look at the repairs. The majority of the work showed up along the sidewalk seams where shifting earth had taken advantage of the weakened spaces and produced dangerous breaks in the concrete. The breaks created tripping hazardous and most likely forced countless complaints over the years from the many walkers and runners trying to traverse it safely.

To be clear, it wasn’t the breaks that caught my attention but the repairs that prompted eventual assurance.

A deliberate decision was made to fix what was already there — grind down the hazardous protrusions and smooth out the path as opposed to replacing entire sections of sidewalk.

As I ran across the broken sidewalk seams and quickly studied the efforts to grind and smooth it made sense that this was the smarter choice as opposed to a costly replacement.

That is the beauty of restoration isn’t it?

Understanding the value of a good and strong existing path and addressing imperfections that arise over time is how we build trust. Scraping everything and starting over only happens when trust is fully-broken and the path is deemed too harmful or leads nowhere of value. Good paths will always be wrought with imperfections but that is what makes them honest and real. Through the cracks and repairs we see the work and through the work we can rest in faith that the path is true and can be trusted.

So, my assurance today comes from a knowledge that we are not scrapping the old as we move into post pandemic world but paying closer attention to where good restoration can be done. Smoothing where we can, grinding down the edges so the hazards are minimized. The way forward is not a shiny new path built on the superficial — the way forward is an honest restoration in what is already good while placing greater focus on shoring up the weaker sections.