1000 Miles

Seven months after I clicked off the 500 mile mark, I’ve rolled the odometer again.  A 5 mile run with my wife put me over the 1000 mile mark on my running. It was a dark and cloudy morning and the sun had not yet come up. But that is the way it is when I run at this time of year.

Since last June when I hit the 500 mile mark:

  • I’ve burned through another pair of running shoes and am now on my third pair of Asic Gel Numbus 12s.
  • I’ve run in 3 more races: 2 10Ks and a 5K
  • I’ve run my farthest run: 10 miles
  • I’ve run the most miles in in a month: 86 miles in November (beating out May and October)
  • I’ve past my 1 year anniversary of running in September.

Other notable facts (from my dailymile.com log):

image

Also my wife and boys have started running, and now when we talk about races, it isn’t: “Which races will I do?” It is “Which races will we do?”

Running is a lot less lonely than the first 500 miles.  I now get to run with my wife on a regular basis and it is almost like going on a date.  A chance for us to talk, to plan, to pray without the interruptions of 3 boys.

Finally, one notable thing that I’ve learned over the past 1000 miles:

Running is a Gift.  The sunrises that I never would’ve seen. The special times with my wife. The fleeting glimpse of the awesomeness of God.  The opportunities to blow off the stresses of the day.These have been the little things that add up to the Gift of running.  It is hard, but Good.

See you in another 1000 miles.

Advertisements

Shades of Grey

I was recently chatting with my wife over breakfast, a rare luxury that we only seem to find on weekends.  She was expressing her weariness over her grueling exercise regimen.

Sympathizing, I suggested that she might lessen the intensity or frequency of her workouts, thus making this wearisome burden more manageable. 

As a husband, I’m a problem solver and this suggestion was an obvious (to me) solution to the problem.  Word to the wise: Don’t try to fix your wife’s problems. They just want you to listen. I obviously was having a mental lapse.

She looked at me with obvious incomprehension at the suggestion.  This idea was obviously not one that could even be considered.

“Shades of grey,” I prompted, referring to an ongoing discussion that we have about how it doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” proposition.  The world doesn’t always have to be black and white. I don’t see the need to kill myself to meet an exercise goal.  You can take a less aggressive stance when it comes to exercise.  (Of course that might explain while gravity seems to have a magnified effect when I step on the bathroom scale.)

“Hon,” she replied, “I wasn’t given that crayon in my crayon box.”

We both laughed.

Of course, later thinking back to this conversation, I realize there are other areas where I see stark lines and she sees the shadows.  And that’s the wonderful thing about being married to a woman that sees things differently than I do.  She tempers my perspective, bringing color and shadow, balancing my point of view.

A Penny For Your Thoughts

It looks like we’re finally coming out of the woods. ~A~ is about a month old now, and is getting on some semblance of a schedule. He’s gotten past the newborn awkwardness and is responding to his environment more. There are times when I talk to him and he opens his mouth like he wants to say something back, but just can’t find the words.

I wonder what he’s thinking. I’d pay good money to find out what is going on in his little brain and to see what the world looks like through his eyes.

The funny thing is, I wonder the same thing with my older boys even now. ~D~ was sitting on my lap this evening and got really quiet, like he was deep in thought. When I asked him about it, he demurred, “Nothing that you can help me with.” I could have pushed to get at the answer, but I’m not sure that would have been the best course of action, so I let it go.

So much of the time I feel like I’m trying to pull the information out of them:
“How was your day?”
“How was your piano lesson?”
“What did you do at the Y?”

And then they argue about who gets to tell what story of the day, and the information is left untold. And sometimes, it isn’t worth it to get it out of them, so I just stop trying.

When do you push to get inside their minds? When do you just wait and let them tell you? There is a balance in between that I’m still trying to figure out.

And so I’m still left wondering, “What are they thinking?”

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

(Aside: If you were curious where the phrase originated from, you might find the answer interesting.)

Dark looming clouds This phrase seems to describe the uneasiness that I struggle with every once in a while.  It’s like every thing is going great at home, at work, in my family. It is almost like things are going too well, and I am waiting for that other shoe to drop and let The Unfortunate Event make its entrance in our lives.

Sometimes its a small thing, sometimes big, but always unexpected and unwelcome.

A flooded basement, a broken down car, the unexpected phone call with bad news.  And then there are those things that you don’t even want to mention out loud, for fear they might happen.

Even as I write this, I can feel that pit in my stomach, that nervous anxiety that comes when waiting for the other shoe to drop. I wonder how I will handle it.  Will it be big or small this time? Will it involve my wife or kids? How can I bear it?  The anxiety grows…and blooms into fear.

There is a word for this type of thinking: Unbelief.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers…against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

–Eph. 6:12

There is Someone out to get me, to destroy me and take my family down.  He puts me on this anxious path to fear, dragging my thoughts to the worst possible conclusion.

I fear because I don’t believe that God will be there, that He won’t come through.  I’m afraid that He’ll let me down and leave me to my own devices to handle those Unfortunate Situations. But those fears are not based in Truth.

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

–Rom. 8:32

And so the battle begins:  Will I let my fears control me? Or will I trust that what God says is true?

Today, our pastor spoke on Unbelief out of Mark 9.  The father of the son with the demon cried out to Jesus, “…If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”  You can hear his desperation.  He was at the end of his rope and desperate. 

Jesus’ response: “ ’If you can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”  A promise. A rope thrown to a drowning man.  A life line.

And the man responds grabbing the rope: “I believe, help my unbelief.”

That is my prayer today. Lord, I trust you in this situation.  I give you my anxiety and fears. I trust that even if the other shoe drops, You will be there.  You will throw the rope. You will be my strength.

Help my unbelief.

Balance in Worship

We stayed home from church today–slept in and had church at home.  It is a struggle sometimes to engage the boys in worship.  They’ll mumble the words and look bored while my wife and I try to connect with God.

I sometimes ignore them, but at other times try to engage them and rouse them out of their malaise with the Creator of the Universe.

I used to try to play the guitar, but that has bombed enough that I don’t even try anymore.  Instead, I try to get them each to pick a worship song, and we sing that, so that they at least can participate at some level.

Today, after their half hearted efforts at the first song, I made everyone stand up and try to clap.  But then after a little while we sat down again at the request of my wife.  I didn’t try to fight it, and we soon finished up by praising God using the letters of our names.  I’d say something like:

God, thank you for being Creator.

Lord, you are Righteous.

Thank you for being a God of Action.

Thank you Lord, for being Intimate.

Thank you God, that You are Good.

I always wonder if the boys get anything out of our time, but at least they practice at it, evenif it doesn’t reach their hearts.

I worry singing the right songs and doing the right things when we worship as a family. Am I pushing the boys too much? Or not enough? Are they engaged? Or just giving lip service? Am I expecting too much?

Later, my wife commented that she enjoyed the worship:  “I like that you had everyone stand up, but then we got to sit down.  I can always concentrate on God better that way. It was a good balance.”

And there you go.  Sometimes I just make things too complicated when it is really quite simple: Stand up, but then sit down.  And God takes care of the rest.

5 Minutes After My Last Post…

I was lying on the ground in excruciating pain.  I had finished posting, and then went to get up off the couch and get ready for work, when something went very wrong in the way I got up.  My back said, “Oh no you don’t!” and I was down. I usually try to grit through something like this, but I had never felt so much pain.

After trying to get off the floor for about 15 minutes, I finally was able to shuffle like an old man, back to bed. I took a sick day for one of the first times in 16 years.

Somewhere in the midst of that struggle to get back on my feet, the though came to me: “Is God trying to tell me something through this? Do I need to slow down?”

It is amazing at how quickly life can change.  One minute you’re heading one one way and then you get a sucker punch that knocks you off your feet.  How do you keep your balance after something like that? You can’t.

But it makes me realize how dependent I am on God for everything. I take His provision (my health, for example) for granted. But after something like this, I realize my whole means of making a living and provision is in His hands.

I’d sometimes like to think that I am master of my destiny, but this is painfully not the case. Thankfully, I can trust in a Loving Father who holds me, and my destiny, in His care.  Thank you, Father!

(P.S. A couple of days later and I’m still shuffling around, but at least not flat on my back.)