So what has possessed me to to start running? I can tell you it is not a sudden urge to join a marathon or find my twenties. I am not having a mid-life crisis and there is no new love to impress.
I am learning the ‘joys’ of running as a way to encourage my daughter to keep up her running regime now that her Cross Country season is over. She is much better at this than I am as she has had two seasons to learn how to run longer distances and has spent the last 12 weeks working out every day. Life lesson coming ahead – even those who are more experienced or seasoned still need encouragement from time-to-time.
While I am doing my best to be an encouragement to her and not an anchor that she has to worry about putting CPR into practice over, I am learning a few things about running that apply to life:
- It is easy to be energetic and passionate during those first few steps. I can run with the best of them for about 10 steps.
- It can be very tempting to give up when you realize this ‘run’ is work and is getting harder than it was at the beginning. After about 2 tenths of a mile, I am trying to figure out where I coughed up my lung. It would be so much easier to stop running, lay down on the ground, and call 911 for emergency oxygen than to take one more step.
- Picking milestones helps to break up the bigger run and keeps my spirits up. I have to pick a point about 10 yards ahead and say, “I can make it that far”, and then set the next 10 yard mark after I attain that goal. If I thought about the mile mark when I was still in the first quarter mile, it would be too easy to be overwhelmed at what I am trying to accomplish.
- Keeping a record of how I am progressing from day-to-day, gives me perspective into how I am growing. Setting up some ‘Ebenezer Stones’ called statistics lets me know where I was yesterday, where I am at today, and where I can be tomorrow.
These are some early lessons that I have learned as I have just started on this course of action. I may gain some more insight if I survive the next couple of weeks and I may even post some statistics once I have enough to tell a story.
I don’t know that it would take a great deal of bible study to recognize there was a difference in the disciples before the day of Pentecost and the days that followed. Those days following Christ’s crucifixion and before the coming of the Holy Spirit, the church was running scared. Including those that had been closest to Christ – His disciples.
But then something happened on that day of Pentecost that put power into the early church movement. The people gathered obediently and were filled with the Holy Spirit. No more running. No more denying. No backing down. No watering down. No dressing up. Just the pure simple beauty of the gospel message presented through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thinking on that I can’t help but be introspective about my own beliefs and the impact of the Holy Spirit in my life. I feel that I fall miserably short of the example set in that early church.
Am I the only one?
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 1-7.
Am I running scared? Are you?
What will it take to galvanize the church to lay a hold of the power?
Think on it. Let me know your thoughts.
This is the second installment of my short story, Collecting Tears. These chapters are mostly rough drafts that I need to revisit and brush up, but I am posting them because they may push me to finish writing the story.
Chapter 2: Sweet Escapes
The spell of the scene was falling away and she was slowly returning to her sad reality. Life had been long but not so long that she was ready to be collecting the rewards that she had feared as a seven year old. Some things didn’t change. In fact, some things only worsened with age. She had always wondered what lay beyond the dusty shroud that separated this existence from the next. Wondering only increased her trepidation.
She clasped her vial tighter, thankful that it offered an alternative to the unknown. In those last moments, she would escape to her own comfortable reality – a lifetime that she had made for herself.
Being frightened caused her to grow angry – she shouldn’t be so fragile at this point in her life. Preparations had been made and carried out and there was no reason to fear now. She caressed the vial once again, needing to return to a place that would bring her joy. Yes, there were tears of joy here too.
She could smell the vegetable gardens that grew in everybody’s backyards. Victory gardens. She hated the fact that she had to spend hours a day weeding the rows of tomatoes, corn, and green beans. “Plant More In ’44” was posted on posters all over down town. When she looked at her broken finger nails full of dirt, she wanted to march along the streets and rip the hateful propaganda from its mocking edifice. Victory indeed. Seventeen and relegated to menial and meaningless labor.
The scent of the tomato leaves did nothing to soothe her mood. The air hung hot and heavy across the night like a wet blanket. She was going crazy with the heat. Even the crickets sounded sluggish outside her window. The moon was hidden causing the darkness to seem suffocating in the summer swelter. She bit her damp pillow case and screamed in frustration.
She could resist it no longer. Standing at the foot of her bed, she removed her night gown and stood naked against the window frame. There was no breeze to cool her skin, but getting the wadded up shift away from her body had made her think she felt cooler. Feeling cooler didn’t remove the stench of the garden that lay beyond her sill leaving her mood still curdled by the heat.
She wasn’t sure how long she had stared out at the stars, being serenaded by soggy crickets, before she noticed a small whisper of a wind playing among the ivy tendrils that grew around her frame. It teased her, calling her to come and play. Why couldn’t she have been a boy, then she could simply step out into the night and enjoy the sweat being dried off of her skin by the small breeze. No sooner had she thought it than she acted on it. Girls had a right to be cool, too.
Her bare feet hit the fresh turned soil that ran clear up to the base of the wall that held her window. She could feel small stones bite softly into her soles but she didn’t care. The sweat that was hidden by night’s dark cloak was being lifted off by gentle tugs of northern winds. It was more than refreshing, it was chilling. A shiver of excitement ran along her spine causing her to toss her hair as if she were a wild mare loosed on a vast prairie.
She took a few more timid steps into the night to taste the forbidden ecstasy of being unclothed in a world of that hid too much. Her fourth step brought her heel down on a ripening tomato. It popped deliciously. The sweet green smell that it released was fresh blood in the tank shark of her mood.
She gave into the desire, running up and down the rows of vegetables stomping tomatoes, throwing ears of corn, and ripping beans from their vines. It was heavenly. She smelled like soup and felt like a silver fox hunting her prey. She tipped her head back towards an invisible moon and yipped, a wild cub on the hunt. Tears flowed down her jaw line, falling to her bare breasts where she eventually trapped one in the crystal tube that hung always in her budding valley.