Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 21, 2014- From Within



            “I Can Do All Things Through Him Who Gives Me Strength.” (Phil 4:13)

            Well, I did it.  It wasn’t pretty.  It wasn’t even moderately good-looking, but I finished.  It took me a whole hour longer than my last marathon.  I cried like a baby during the last quarter.  My right knee, the one with the attitude problem, was not going to shut up and get with the program.  So I had to walk for at least the last four.  I tried a number of times to start running again, but no.  It was just not going to happen.  So I walked.
The Citgo Sign!!!
            I kept saying over and over again, “I don’t care.”  I was trying to convince myself it was okay that runners were streaming by me and I was not really getting the job done like I thought I should.  I was not running my marathon.
            Marathon runners talk about “hitting that wall” at around mile twenty.  In this race, I not only hit the wall, but I was sorta ground into it like a bug on the windshield that needs some extra fluid and a few extra strokes of the wipers to clear it off- a real mess that couldn’t seem to be scraped off until the next day.  Forget the fun Samuel Adams Post Race Party, or going to watch the Gibbs kids in their play this evening, or just proudly sporting my medal and official jacket with the other runners in town, it was all I could do to remain in an upright position in the bus ride back to the hotel.
            We then decided to simply go down to the hotel restaurant for some dinner, and I could hardly eat, and had to leave and go back up to the room early.   I just felt like a big pile of poo.  Nothing I could do to get out of it, no miracle pill, no readjustment to a comfortable position.  
The cross, on so many levels, was my intimate friend today.  
Now, as my brain is starting to clear and I look back and try to figure out the lessons that I know are in there for me, I guess there are many.  So many people were praying for me.  It is overwhelming really and I know that with all that traffic, all that noise in God’s face- so much so that He couldn’t avoid it, I know there are reasons why it all happened like it did, and not like I thought it should.  God was in control, not me.
The thing that is forefront is the fact that throughout this blogging experience I have had a couple reoccurring themes going:  I kept focusing on the fact that I wanted to live it.  I wanted to live.
Let me live it Lord! 
The other reoccurring theme is my rambling about wanting to take on that cross:  If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me...." (Luke 9:23)
I’m smiling as I think about the prayers answered- as I reflect on those five hours of carrying that huge cross I absolutely did live that experience.  Because I had to walk I think it slowed everything down and as I came into Boston, and the beautiful buildings and all the people cheering I was able to use that top layer of the jell-o mold (my head) and look up!  I was able to see the people up in the balconies and the magnolias just opening their blooms, the sign that read: “Smile if you peed yourself a little” (yes, I smiled and gave him a thumbs up) and mostly high-fiving all the cute kids standing along the twenty-six miles of sidelines. 

I prayed.  I talked to the Blessed Mother.  I talked to my mother.  Heck, I talked to whoever I thought could help me!!  Every part of me was in agony, every mile was an eternity.  As each of those four Newton Hills came on me I offered them up to God for my four reasons.  I asked Jesus to fortify me, over and over. 
And I cried.  I looked around me.  I looked up and took it all in and it was so much that it came out of my eyes.   
I called Jim at the top of Heartbreak Hill and told him to tell me something.  (He always loves that, as coming up with off-the-cuff happy thoughts and feelings are so easy and fun for him.  Not.)  He told me it’s alright.  It was okay to walk.  I needed to hear him tell me that, so I called him back like two more times.  What an odd way to spend a marathon race, but apparently I wasn’t in charge. 
I thought about each one of my children, my family, those who told me they were praying.  I thought of my friend Kirk Steen, who was running it with me in spirit, and his beautiful wife Mandy, who experienced the Boston Marathon in a way that was completely different than what she had anticipated not just a month ago…
All these things, and so much more fill me.  I posted during the first week of this blog, on Christmas Eve:

  I pause for a moment to breathe it all in, pull out my phone to snap a couple photos of the scene and the old stone barn to post later on facebook.  I need to share the experience a little, to post a comment on how incredibly blessed I am to have this beautiful view to run passed.  On a day filled with thoughts of blessings, and family, and happy times… my cup runneth over.   

How appropriate.  How true.  How overwhelming.  And I say once again, Thank-you Lord Jesus.  You have given me so much more than I will ever deserve or earn.  You have made me and only from you do I possess a fire that burns from within. 
From within.  So as I end this little adventure I latch onto that grace from within and scan the horizons for the next chapter, the next great or small adventure on this marathon journey through life.
Thank you for being a part of it. 

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