Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Random, Late Night Thoughts; October 16-17, 2013

My mind is going 180 miles a minute.  How do I slow it down?  I get my thoughts out on paper (or online).

I’m kind of a walking paradox.  I’m “out here”, but I like – no, I enjoy -- being “under the radar” at the same time.

I like being able to do things – which benefit others – that nobody knows that I’m involved in.  It is because I don’t want the attention focused on me.

I’m very open, if you take the time to get to know me; however, I’m also very private and prefer that many don’t know certain things.

Not that I have anything to hide, but more so that I’m not comfortable – at all – with praise.

So where am I at tonight?

At some crossroads, I would say.

I’ve recently asked a friend to pray for me to have discernment on what “road I should walk” and to “help me find it”, as the words of a current, popular contemporary Christian music song states.

In essence, God’s perfect will for my life.

God has given me talents that I believe are pretty neat and incredible (although to some they might not be that impressive).  On the surface, actually, they’re not, I suppose.  Yet I want to make sure that I’m using them right – and for the right purpose.

For those that don’t have a faith that they place their trust and belief in, they wouldn’t understand that I prayed before I announced a recent race three weeks ago on a Sunday morning in Katy that I did well – not for me – but that perhaps one participant might be in need – of something - that morning of being recognized as they came to the finish line.

It has never really been about me.  It has been about those people who – in road races, for example – have paid their discretionary income to participate in an activity that is of physical and emotional value to them.

When I do a high school cross country meet, such as Nike South that I did recently, it is all about the kids.  All the time.  I want things to be perfect for them – not me.

And if the road that I’m on isn’t the one that I’m supposed to be taking, then I ask myself what will I do to replace that void that I may have.

For as much joy as I have gained over the years in being involved in many of the endeavors I have, there has been much pain too.

That pain is NOTHING, though, compared to others that I know – or have known -- who have lost a child, spouse, relative or a close friend or have overcome disease or another tragedy in their life.

I say “have” because I have experienced the pain of losing friendships – or what I thought to be friendships.  Maybe they were acquaintances, at best, that I misperceived to be friendships.

If they’re friendships, both parties go all in, right?

I have walked away from situations – taken the high road, if you will, and with great private pain (that few of my best friends have even understood) – because I just didn’t see any value in fighting out what I perceived to be a wrong approach on the other parties’ part.

Because of social media and what pops up right in front of you (without even looking for it), I steer clear of people that I consider a friend because you can see the value they place in people who I have been wronged by.

That’s a huge challenge and minefield.

And, at the same time, there are people who “window shop” and announce that they are (think “following” on Twitter), but they never engage.  I admit openly that I have bumped those people from my “follow” list, especially when I encounter those people in person and they never engage in either setting.

Back to this “athletic” world that I’m currently immersed in.  What do I do?  Does God want me here?  Is there a Kingdom-driven purpose for me to be doing what I’m doing?

Like I said, it has brought me great joy.

A run.

I get discouraged by folks whose world seems to revolve around it.

When I had a “running” blog, which was more of a “media outlet” that I updated regularly six or seven years ago, I got taken to task because I didn’t train – or do things – via the textbook.

I learned over time that those who did were seeking recognition – or credit – because they thought their approach and work was “right”, or people have deeper issues that they’re dealing with.

But some of my greatest joys have come from a simple run.

I recently got to do that twice on my recent visit this past weekend with my daughter, who is a freshman at Liberty University.

And one of them was a makeup run that we missed before her Mom and I left her there to start the semester.  It is something that I prayed as the week leading up to my most recent visit that nothing would come in the way of because I didn’t want that “miss” to be “the” memory.

I had desired some “us” time the morning before we needed to leave.

All the while, I’ve been trying to teach her to plan things out and I’ve tried to also treat her like an adult.  She’s earned that respect, but as a parent, I’ve also learned that sometimes it is OK that they still be a child – especially, at heart.

I had expected her to remember the plan, but the night before, at dinner, she had forgotten about it.

I was hurt.  And selfish.

Here I was in what was one of the biggest challenges in her life wanting something for me.

Only because I loved her (at that moment) – and love her (now) – as much as life itself sometimes.

It caused for some hurt feelings, angst, unnecessary drama and not as perfect departure the next morning that I think we all envisioned it to be.

I was glad that God provided me the opportunity this past weekend to make up for that.

We shared a 40-minute run (20 out and 20 back) on a trail – starting from the riverfront part of downtown Lynchburg – that I wouldn’t want her running on unless she was with a group of other runners that she knew and trusted.

It was a simple, yet awesome time.

The next morning, we got to do something that we’ve done many times – and that is run a race together.

There were no expectations, I suppose.  It was to be fun.  And it was.

It was a race that was on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s family retreat called Poplar Forest.

A few weeks before, she ran a race that started and finished on Liberty’s football field.  And I wasn’t able to be there.  That had only happened one other time when our church put on a 5K the same day that I was announcing another event.

As I’ve done many times, I asked if they had anyone to do the National Anthem.  The race production company, which was the local running store, asked the race director and they made time in their timeline for her to do so.

She stepped up, not having done so since the Fourth of July, and did a superb job singing, but then she did so running too.

She has been going out for runs a couple of times a week in the heat and on the hills of the campus.  More so that she wasn’t running at night by herself, from a safety standpoint.  (I was surprised, even near the campus of a Christian university, the number of young women who were running alone with headphones – oblivious, perhaps, to the world around them.)

And her efforts paid off.

She went through the first mile in 10:51.76, and the first mile wasn’t flat.  It had a downhill and a couple of rolls on the way out and you got the rolls on the way back to the first mile marker.

The second mile had a nice uphill, but by the middle of it, we were on asphalt-covered streets – the best, in my mind, to run on.  Especially for rhythm runners, which we both are.

She got to the second mile marker in 11:17.86 and it was then that I knew that if she could hold it together for another mile that she would be staring at a nice PR.

And she did.  We covered the last 1.1 mile in 12:08.83 for a PR of 34:17!  (34:18.45 on my watch, but that is because I let her cross before I did.)

She also outkicked a girl at the end that ended up a spot behind her in the same age group, making her second instead of third.  And if the overall winner hadn’t been a 14-year-old, then she might had been out of a medal if she hadn’t pushed it at the end.

I feel a bit better, but I still am challenged by what do I need to be doing down the road and how do my hobbies fit in with that – if at all.

Two verses on the daily Tony Dungy “Quiet Strength” inspirational calendar sit in front of me crossing October 16 to the 17th.

October 16 – “God’s grace is all I need; His power works best in my weakness, as 2 Corinthians 12:9 says.”

October 17 – “We live in a lost and hurting world, and God wants us to get beyond ourselves, whether it’s to help hurting kids or grieving parents or artistic inmates or striving fathers.”

Get beyond ourself.  Indeed.  The line is still appropriate, “If there’s a road I should walk, help me find it.”  I’m here.  I’m trying my best.  And I want to find the right road that I should be walking.

I know that I’ll probably make some mistakes along the way, but I want peace to know that I’m doing the right things, in the right way and for the right purpose.

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