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The training

It is early morning. The hills are buried in a vast down comforter of muffling, white fog. Even as I watch, in no hurry to see the morning become day, I see the fog lifting against the hills, like a thermometer slowing rising. Once the ridge line is clear (and it is safe on those summit roads) I will get on my bike and go for a training ride.

Train for what? I myself do not know what I have been training for except to say that I have been doing it for years, in different ways, always with the vague sense that down the road I will be tested and I had better be ready. I have been learning skills, building strength, testing my determination, throwing myself into emotionally dangerous situations – just to see how I’d fare.

Always I have carried with me the sense that I am training for something that has not yet happened.

But what if I will never be tested, what if those situations I have prepared for will never come to pass, those skills never get put to use? What if, in all my training for that future test, I have avoided the test that was right here, right now? Or worse, what if the test has already happened and I never even noticed? What if I failed?

It is a disheartening thought.

I do not understand this life of mine. Other people have been able to find their way, yet my way forward is blanketed in the most impenetrable fog. It would be much easier if I could accept one of the obvious roles society offers to all of us, but I have been unable to choose mine — though God knows I have tried.

Instead, I flounder, chasing willy-nilly the voices I hear in the fog. I plunge in after them with great earnestness because my quest is built on the most sincere desire to come home. I have been at this wandering for years and though it may be my eternal lot, I do not give up hope that one day I will say, “I am here, I am done.”

But in the meantime, in the absence of clarity, I do what I have always done: I train for that future day.

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