Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pain is temporary, lessons learned last forever

The run the other day was not pleasant at all! A necessary evil I guess. I drove up to the starting point and dejection filled my spirits. I knew what lie ahead; pain! It was extremely frigid. I exited my vehicle nd looked at the long dark road ahead. I took the first few steps and I was telling myself how great I felt. It was extremely quiet out there. I could hear the wind blowing and the leaves as it moved across the asphalt.

As I ran, I became lost in the darkness. It felt like I was running in space. Then my mind began to wander. I remember telling myself this run is the last 7 miles the Ironman. The first mile was an easy one; nice and flat. I didn’t let it fool me. This was the calm before the storm.

I could see it. It was my enemy; the first hill hill. You ever see the movies where opposing armies are charging towards each other? Men are yelling and courageously running toward their deaths. At the moment they collide there is nothing but chaos! That is the image that comes to mind as I approached this hill.

I began making my way up the hill and I went into auto pilot for a bit. I let my body do the running while my mind drifted to la-la land. I woke up at the half way point (3.5 miles).

It wasn’t that bad! I remember how great I felt. Hills, however, are a living animal. They have emotion and feelings. Well these hills were in a mood tonight! After the turn around, things changed. The relationship I developed with the hills over the past 3.5 miles meant nothing to her. Was it something I did? Something is said? The run back turned this hill workout into a mental toughness training exercise.

I was hurting. It felt like the temperature dropped 20 degrees. I didn’t have gloves, or a hat. I was absolutely not dressed properly. My knees were hurting and I have never had pain in my knees like this before. When I breathed, I felt like I was inhaling razors! I would rather have H1N1 and Strep again than feel that pain in my lungs.

I really had to take my mind somewhere else. As I ran, I saw these mile markers spray painted on the ground. They weren’t marking out my course but I was using it to have an idea where I was in my route. Something interesting happened. I really ran with this thought in my head (Pun intended ha!).

I thought to myself, “What are my mile markers as a Christian? As a Father? As a person?” Do I compare myself to other Christians and say I am better than him? Or he better than me? Suddenly, it seemed to all make sense to me. While on the route, I used someone else’s mile markers a marker for where I was in my run. I realized I do this in my life. A LOT! I use someone’s “fill in the blank” (car, job, family) as a marker for where I am. I compare my career to others. The car I drive. How behaved my children are in public. Sadly, I was comparing blessings.

On that run, I seemed to realize none of it mattered. If there mile marker said 7.5 and I was actually on 6. Did it matter? What matters is I was running my route. What matters is this is my life; my route. And there is no need to compare.

God doesn’t compare me to others to see how much grace he should offer me. I probably shouldn’t compare myself to others to see how much “better” I am or am not to another. You are my brother!

The wind seemed to rip through my body. As the wind assaulted me, my undershirt felt like a sheet of ice on my back. There wasn’t a part of my body that didn’t hurt. Mostly because I was so cold. I could see my car! I tried to conjure up a sprint but I just hurt too much to try. Suddenly, it was over. I sat in my car…and it was done. I had learned some valuable lessons on this run. It was one of my favorites.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. It is true that pain can teach us many lessons...but we have to feel it first! Often we are not willing to let ourselves feel pain physically or emotionally and while it may seem a comfortable way to live, we are really only living on the surface and miss so much depth in our lives. Depth that can lead to understanding, compassion, grace, joy, the ability to put ourselves aside for others, the courage to take risks and push ourselves further. I love how introspecive you become when you run....and the way you search for spiritual meaning and betterment for yourself. This was very inspiring! Thank you for sharing!