Farewell, For Now

Mrs. ~B~ died this week.  She was 95 years young. The boys and I went to see her in the hospital last weekend before she died.  She had a gleam in her eye and told us not to be sad, but to be happy for her. She was ready and eager to go Home.

Today at her funeral they read the poem that she had shared with us at dinner several years back. I was glad to hear it again.  It was also good to hear about all the lives that she had touched over the years—mine was just one of many.

I was able to dig through the archives and find a few glimpses of how she touched our lives:

My favorite quote is:

“Always look up. You can always find something bad about every situation. You just have to choose to ignore it and look for the good.”

Farewell, for now, Mrs. ~B~. We love you.

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):

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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.

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.

Holding back a little less

basketball-photo-2 Recently we bought a basket ball goal.  I’ve wanted one for a while, but in discussing with the boys about getting one, they were pretty lukewarm about the idea.

“I don’t even like basketball.”

“That’s a lot of money.”

“I’m not very good.”

“I don’t think that we’d play that much.”

I was amazed and surprised at their lack of interest. But I decided not to listen to them. 

We went out one Saturday morning to get the goal.  I didn’t even tell the boys where we were going.  But we got it and put it together and filled it up with 360 pounds of sand.  In a 1 inch hole. And after 3 hours and 2 days of filling it up with sand, we were done. (I was proud that they stuck with me to the very last grain.)

Something happens when you invest time and energy into an endeavor.  You  no longer become a disinterested bystander.  You’re committed to the goal. 

And we played our first game of basketball.  Sheer bliss.

Mind you, none of us are very good.  I never really played much basketball as a kid.  And as I got older, I didn’t play much because the boys who did play were much better than I and I didn’t want to get laughed at.  So, I never really played that much.

But we have been figuring it out together, including playing a little one-on-two.

Our house rules are simple.  Due to my height advantage, I play against my 2 boys and I only get one point for each basket.  They get 2 points.  And that evens things out pretty well.  In fact, I’ve never won under those rules.

The other day, I was just trying to keep up with the score, which means I have to play extra hard.  I started trying to dodge them, and got a little physical along the way.  ~K~ commented, “~D~, I think we just unlocked Dad’s aggressive mode.”

I guess that’s true.  When the boys were little, I had to hold back on them.  A lot.  I got used to doing that because you don’t want to overwhelm your kids.  You want to push them hard, but not blow them out of the water.

But here I am with a fair handicap, but losing big time.  I’ve got to step up my game a little.  So I’ve started holding back a little less.  I have to.  They’re bigger and stronger now.  But, the problem is, now that I can let it out more, I’ve got to be careful not to get injured myself.  I can’t throw it down like I could in my 20’s. There are aches and pains and close calls that my body is sending out to me to say, “Watch it buddy, you’re gonna hurt yourself!”  Like the other day when I was trying to win at “Horse.”  I went up for a layup and landed on my ankle wrong. I’ve been limping around ever since.  A painful reminder that I’m not as resilient as I used to be.

I can see a day in the not so distant future where I’m gonna get beat fair and square.  And I won’t be holding anything back. 

I smile at that day.  Young men should be able to beat their fathers…but not yet.

When Dreams Die

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Why does God allow dreams to die?

I asked Him that a few months ago and thought that I heard Him answer: Because I love you.

Years ago, I used to bring that dream out of my pocket every once in a while, dust it off and look at it, wonder if it would happen.  “God, I thought you promised…”

Then I relegated it to the top shelf.  I’d have to get a ladder to look at it.  “Maybe I didn’t hear right.  Maybe I misunderstood…”

Then that dream went into a storage box buried deep in the basement.  “Boy, good thing that never happened…”

And then, this summer, after  a torrential rain storm, we were cleaning out the flooded basement.  Everything was wet and we had to pull out all the baby junk that we had stored away.  The crib, the toys, the books, the dream.  We had no use for it.  It was just taking up room.

“Let’s just get rid of it all.  We could have a yard sale and clean out this basement.”  And I agreed.  What a relief to get rid of it all. Plans were made.  We would make some money and put it towards our vacation next year.

But a couple of weeks before the yard sale, my wife came to me and said, “I’m late.”

I thought: No, no, no. That’s ridiculous! That’s absurd!  We’ve already done this before, and I know where it ends. I said, “I’m sure it’s nothing.”

But then a week before the yard sale, she came back and said, “You know if we sell all this stuff and shouldn’t have, we’re going to kick ourselves.”
”Take the test. Let’s clear things up before we do this yard sale.”

And so I was downstairs in the basement when she called my name, “Craig! Can you come here please?”  It was the way she said it..kind of scared.  My heart sank.

God lets dreams die, only to resurrect them again at the proper time. Because God is a God of Resurrection.

And so after turning 40 later this year, we will be celebrating a new birth day in our family next spring…

The birth of our third child.

God has a sense of humor…doesn’t He?