Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not what I had planned.

 written on Friday, October 14, 2011

        It’s the eve of the long anticipated Hartford Marathon.  The evening is gorgeous and the weekend promises to be quintisensial autumn weather.  Seven months ago I selected this particular weekend and set it apart.  Big letters on the calendar, in fancy script – Hartford Marathon.  I would run 26.2 beautiful miles, through the crimson and cinnamon and pumpkin colored splendor of New England in the fall. 

I would feel alive, adrenalin pumping in my soul, heart tapping a steady rhythm, feet jamming to the beat of dedication.  And then, the moment I visualized over and over in my eager mind would become a real life moment; my tired, worn out, exhausted body would cross the finish line, the hard work behind me and the celebration ahead of me.  I would be glowing, beaming, full of teary eyed amazement that I had followed through on this lifetime goal and I had brought my body to the best shape it had ever been in. 

A gold marathon medal would be mine.  I would wear it proudly, smiling at other runners who wore the same.  Forever, I would carry this achievement, this journey, this run; forever, I would know that even I could do this, me, a marathon.
        The eve has arrived.  And, there is no carb loading meal, no spaghetti and meatball dinner.  My running shoes are on the garage shelf and will spend the entire day there tomorrow, without the smallest run.  The medal that would have been placed around my neck tomorrow in Harford, while I so proudly smiled and inhaled the crisp fall air, will be awarded to another runner.  Tomorrow, when the runners take their positions at the start of the race {on your mark}, I will find my position on a gps so that I can find the conference location.  While the Hartford Marathon participants prepare for their several hour long race {get ready}, I prepare for an even longer day of my own emotional marathon.  The athletes will set their gaze on the miles that lie ahead {get set}, and my eyes will focus on the promise that there is a plan, there is a journey and a map and guide to escort me.  They’ll take off {go}, and so will I.  Their journey will challenge them, inspire them, bring surprises, hopes, disappointments and so will mine, so has mine.

        My feet have failed me in the physical.  They have ached.  Plantar fasciatis.  Tarsel tunnel syndrome.  Nerves, tendons, all inflamed, angry, injured.  Running taken off the table as an option.  A marathon deemed out of the question.  If only the physical was the only obstacle.

You see, my heart has cracked.  My soul has ached.  Disappointment.  Betrayal.  Hurtful words.    Ignoring this soul injury has been taken off the table as an option, while this marathon has been deemed absolutely essential.  So this race, I run.  This one I must run.  And, I suspect that “marathon” will not be a big enough word to describe it. 

I imagined that completing a marathon would go down as my greatest accomplishment.  How proud I would be of me.  Shallow.  Pitifully self focused and shallow.  Not my best thinking about where my worth is rooted.  My new race, this new marathon, will not be about accomplishing anything.  It will be about merely showing up and turning every bit of it over to someone else, the One.  This One will carry me through many miles as I grow tired and weary, walk beside me on others to provide encouragement and support, and pick me up during those miles when I stumble and cannot seem to find my will again. 

 It will be about growth, about strength, about enduring when it hardly seems possible, about one step at a time, even if I must slow down to a crawl.  It is all about Him and not a thing about me.  I will not be able to complete this race, to run against this challenge without him.  His living water, his spirit food, his promises.  Without these gifts, there is no marathon, no finish line, no strength to complete the task, to run this unanticipated race.

        It likely is obvious that I never expected this shift in plans.  I suppose no one ever does.  We plan as if we have control.  Silly folks that we are.  Yet, each day, while I took care of details unassuming, He knew this was coming my way.  He knew as I sent in my registration for Hartford, that I would eventually send in a form to request a refund.  While I was picking out the most fun color for my fuel belt, He knew the box I would package it in to return it to amazon.  He listened with me to countless hours of runners’ stories, tips, experiences, knowing all the while that there was valuable wisdom that I needed much more, wishing I would give Him that attention. 

 He knew my story and knew I needed to rest in him, not my own abilities.  I suspect he was sad to see that a physical accomplishment was where I was focusing all of my energy.  When did He ever speak words of direction toward focusing on the physical, on earthly accomplishments, on turning something so innocent into an idol?   While all along I thought a marathon would shape me, He knew better.  He knew that I needed to be refined in the fire.  I needed a different kind of training, for I would be running quite a different kind of race. 
    The conference, “Healing for the Brokenhearted”, is designed for people just like me.  And so, tomorrow morning, I pack up my broken heart and broken dreams and I head in to a room full of strangers to hear beautiful words of truth, of healing, of my King’s unconditional, indescribable love for me.  I sit with my heavy {as in lead} heart, held by my Savior, and I begin to drink his living water, his spirit food, his promises.  I fuel for the marathon.  I prepare for the healing.  

Reaching for his hem,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe if you take the focus off of "you" and your own pity, you can shine with what God has blessed you with.