The end of a 26.2 mile run. I know it is there, just can’t see it. I know there will be times I don’t think I will ever see it. The muscles will get tired and sore, my heart will beat faster than my pulse, the pain to keep going will become to great to bear, and I will wonder, why am I here? As with long distance runs (in my mind anyway) I have completed, there will come a point where I want to come to a full stop. The pain on the inside is several times more than what is being shown on the outside.
Sounds akin to life at times, doesn’t it? Life is a series of runs, some of them long. There may be a point where you want to give up; can either quit and go home or finish the race. Leaving the American midwest and all that was familiar as a kid, including my mom and brother, certainly was a long run as I grew up in Asia having Adventures with Dad, to restoring the relationship with my mom as an adult. Only within last couple of years did I find out why she was not there to say goodbye; disillusioned, hurt, and abandoned are natural as you would imagine a seven year old boy would be experiencing. It was a long run to reconcile, from childhood to my adult years. The road to heartfelt forgiveness can scar, bruise, and seem like running on rocks. It’s not easy, yet was certainly worth the run. Every mile.
“We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” – C.S. Lewis
The fact is we are not promised the absence of struggle with abundant strength in this life, it is through struggle through which strength is built. Whatever long run you are on, you will get through it. You think you won’t, however you will. Relationships, parenting, responsibilities, the storms in life that will hit; final tears shed at chemotherapy, betrayal, a parent who left or passed away, death of loved one, a job loss, or keeping close to a loved one’s bedside during a time of need. How do we flourish in the midst of this? How do we not only survive, but thrive? How do we get through those long runs?
What I have learned as I have run longer and longer distances transcends running. There is the importance of encouragement and having others around you; lightening the load and letting go, throwing off what is holding you down; perseverance as a good mind and heart are a formidable combination; keeping your eyes on what’s ahead of you, just as important as finishing the run in my mind; faith of how amazing it can be when we step into the unknown, with full confidence that God will not let you go; and trusting others who have gone before you in more difficult circumstances that inspire you to keep going and not lose heart.
With a heart that doesn’t harden, and a resolve that never vanishes, pain can be rewoven for a higher purpose. We can rise up from the rubble, feel our pulse, with full confidence that setbacks are not final conclusions. Tears and sweat can become a symphony of hope in the cathedrals of our hearts.
In Richmond, Virginia on November 14, 2015, I took a chance and followed my heart for my first marathon. Grateful to #runasone with so many; and have a new license plate. As I got #richmondready for #RVAMarathon, each mile had a purpose, whether it be a person, country, idea, or matters of the heart. I ran for single parents, kids of single parents, and Third Culture Kids; including my Comfort Zone Camp little buddies. Every one of us has a story and your story can impact others.
There are two families that come to mind when I run, one of which got me started running and the other encourages me to finish the race. Their stories are one of impact, with tears and pain which has fueled a higher purpose. Still pictures of Meg Menzies move hearts for us all to #bethegood and live out the true definition of 1 Corinthians 13 love in action. For Cameron Gallagher, The Mission at Mile 12 has become her legacy and parents vision of inspiring others to take to heart the message of Fight, Finish, Faith in 2 Timothy 4:7 and SpeakUp for others who are down and fighting depression; and that it’s OK to not be OK. Both Meg and Cameron loved running and have inspired so many others.
As with other families I know and have shared how purposes found them through their storms, there are times in life in the midst of trials where we don’t know if there’s a purpose or a meaning behind it all. Tears can become waterfalls; our symphony of hope in the cathedrals of our hearts. A song on my playlist speaks to my heart about how even though we can go through rough times and trials, and tears, we can reweave our pain into purpose and raise the flag of hope. Waterfalls are a beautiful sight afterall.
We #runasone, my heart is beating, my pulses start….26.2 my eyes are on you.
Until next time,