Riddles & Explanations

It has been surprisingly difficult to process the fact that I completed a marathon. Part of me even feels we did not celebrate properly; it feels like it didn’t actually sink in.

In the past few days, I have kept repeating myself: “Yes, you ran 42 kilometers, yes, you finished the race”. I remember that days before and after September 8th (the day of the race), I had many ideas circling my mind of what wanted to share and how I wanted to tell the story.

Those ideas are blurry now. Between the blurriness and debating about the timing of this post (it’s been a month now), my conclusion did not surprise me. Maybe if I write about it feels real, perhaps if I write about it, I will finally believe it.

One of my favorite analogies is one used by Gilbert Keith Chesterton is his essay, “An Essay on Two Cities.” The author feels one city is a riddle, and the other is an explanation. The essay’s topic is much more than that, but I just love how the terms of riddle and explanation are used.

The analogy instantly resonated, and it made me think that this is how life works.

Life gives us riddles regularly. These riddles can come in the form of personal issues, stressful puzzles at work, unanswered questions, and mysteries hidden in our routines. Sometimes it seems that life even throws brainteasers at us, just to make sure we are paying attention.

But life also gives us explanations. I get chills just thinking about the explanations and their power. Sunsets, cities, wow-moments, the laughter of our loved ones, a sincere hug, a book, praise, a conversation that just clicks, snow, a long summer day, learning something new or seeing something or someone for the first time.

The marathon experience was one of my life explanations. It represented the certitude that good things take time, commitment, tremendous effort, and sometimes many tries. The marathon experience was a validation that patience is needed, but also conviction and that as in life, every individual pace is different, what really counts, is to cross the finish the line.

Riddles are food for our minds, explanations are food for our souls.

Today, pay attention to your explanations and not just the riddles.


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