Out of Our Control (Serenity Now)

At the end of last week, the day before the Hunter Harrier was to depart Houston with our 40’ shipping container, we received some disturbing news:

Abraham and the students of Matunget outside their school

“Dear Mr. Joseph…checking with the shipping line, they have informed us that your container didn’t sail on the scheduled date, there is a big congestion in Port of Houston… they will be confirming sailing and arriving dates soon…I do apologize for all inconveniences in regards sailing dates for your container…we are trying to get our cargo in a priority list to have containers shipped.”

My first thought was of the Seinfeld scene at the airport car rental desk about taking the reservation: “I know how a reservation works.” “No ya don’t. If ya did, I’d have a car right now.” But quickly my mind turned to the distressing news “we are trying to get our cargo on a priority list.” We went from having a reservation to trying to get on a priority list?! I wrote a relatively restrained response, attempting to achieve some level of certainty to at least inform our next decision.

Monday I was advised: “Shipping line is telling us that there is a serious congestion at Houston port …we have spoken with them already and told them how important is for us to have all our cargo shipped on time, they have set this container in a priority list and… (we) are following up for them to not change the sailing date again.”

Wonderful! Now we ARE on a list, and a priority one at that! That has to mean something; a reason for hope at least. As they say: “we aren’t where we want to be and we aren’t where we should be, but at least we’re not where we used to be!” Being “git ‘er done” kind of people, we struggle to deal with events beyond our control. After 7 years of effort and many setbacks, delays and occasional fiascos, following some venting about being hit with sometimes harsh truth and maybe some bruised feelings, we generally manage to maintain a stoic attitude and don’t let the loss of momentum in one area keep us from turning to other tasks that are more productive for the time being. Reinhold Neibuhr’s Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference” is powerful, especially when considered in the heat of the moment. Avoiding rash action with potentially serious consequences is the best one can hope for when confronted with immutable issues.

So, for now we focus on organizing and preparing:
materials for the 7th running of Santa Fe Thunder
a new Global Footprints youth running camp in Espanola, NM
the 5th annual 3-day indoor soccer camp and the 4th annual 2-day running camp coming up in Pojoaque, NM
preparing to attend the Cowtown Marathon Expo Feb 24 and 27 in Ft. Worth (with a crowd of 70,000 expected!), and
organizing the soon-to-be announced Global Footprints – Project Kenya Harambee to help achieve GRC’s dream of constructing a new head start school in Abraham’s village of Matunget on the 4 acres of land that Global Running Culture purchased on the edge of the Great Rift Valley

There is always resistance to the kind of progress we are intent on making. Headwinds, hills and harsh weather conditions are par for the course. Distance runners, endurance athletes and, indeed, everyone at some point relishes a physical and mental challenge. By repeatedly subjecting ourselves to making progress despite resistance endured over time, our abilities increase and we are able to reach places that previously we could not even see. Having a shipping container stuck at the Port of Houston amidst serious congestion is just another obstacle to be overcome. Another thing about these kind of surprises is that there is generally something to learn from them. As with a lot of things (like buying 30 year old tractors, farming implements and shipping containers), we are rookies at the transoceanic shipping game and have learned several lessons the hard way. Next time, we’ll be prepared to git ‘er done in a fraction of the time, now that we’ve found out a bunch of things not to do!

One of the best things about running is that most of the time we are “changing the things we can”. Running is one of the most proactive things that we can do and the sense of accomplishment is profound. May you enjoy every step of your journey and run far. Going out for a run soon after dealing with difficult news is the best way to process it and get over yourself.

BREAKING NEWS! Our shipping company just advised us that our vessel is under way! We await the bill of lading along with a confirmation of arrival date in Mombasa. We are thankful that the delay is just 2 weeks. Now Abraham can schedule his trip and we can continue to plan and move ahead. We look forward to finding out the name of the ship and tracking her progress from Houston and invite you to do the same! We will also be announcing a contest to guess the arrival time and date at the Port of Mombasa. We have already picked out a special prize for the winner!

Smooth runnings,

Joseph Karnes
Race Director