Good morning all! We have made it to mid week. This is always the day that I feel like I can take a breathing break before the big push of Holy Week.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NRSV)
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.
Last summer, Jenny and I decided that we wanted to run a 5K. While I liked the idea of it, I had never ever considered myself a runner. Jenny enjoys running and I was apprehensive but I liked the idea of running a race with her. I really had not run since school when I had to run. Sure, I work out at the gym three times a week but I didn’t ever take on running. The very first day, we ventured out of the house and headed towards a track. Jenny suggested that we run there. I was actually pretty scared. I didn’t even remember how my body felt while running. I felt heavy. I start to take a few steps and then had to stop….I didn’t know if I could do this. Isn’t that ridiculous? Our bodies can run. They are made to move in this fashion and I was scared to move forward moving this way. I was convinced that I could only walk. We walked to the track and set up a system. Walk then run. Walk then run.
We started around the track. I didn’t want Jenny to run alongside me because I wanted to see how I would react first. I swore a lot. But by the third time we went out running I was ready to run alongside instead of in my own stubbornness.
I made some assumptions too that hurt me after a bit. I assumed that I could run more because I work out. But I had forgotten that it was different movement. My shins hurt.
I had to get new shoes. With the right tools and the right running pattern, life was better.
Signed up for my first 5K in October. It took everything in me to go. Not only would I run (at what I felt was a glacial pace) but I would run with other people. Lots of other people. Luckily the race started right across the street from my house and I knew lots of people running it. This was the only way that I could pull myself across to the starting line and chide myself to finish.
I have kept running because I have learned a few things. 1. I like the variation of my body moving in this way. It makes me feel differently when I do it.
2. I like that there are races out there that I could set before myself as goals. Jenny and I still need to run a 5K together.
3. I hate the first half mile of running. It kind of hurts. It feels slow and I still swear quite a bit during it. But if I can get past the first half mile, life seems so much better. I find rhythms. My body warms up. I gain a perspective on being able to run more.
4. While running seems like a single person sport, it is very much a communal sport. I like running so much more when I am with someone else. While I get to clear my mind in a different way when it is just me, races and goals are set with others. Plus, once I claimed myself as someone who occasionally runs, a whole new conversation opened for me with others who do the same. When I am really really hard on myself for being slow and not feeling it, runners are the most encouraging and gracious people that I have ever met. We all think we are slow. We just approve that the other is moving. We acknowledge that this is hard.
The author of Hebrews must have known all of this and especially during Holy Week when we have a marathon before us. Hebrews puts before us the call to start the run. We won’t be alone. There is a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on and the person before us who never gives up that we can do it. It will be hard and will take perseverance but at least we are moving.
What is your race today?