Thursday, December 29, 2011

Let This Be the Year

For better or worse, this will be a different year. Will this year be the year I finally do my Ironman? Or, is this the year I have to quit triathlons altogether? Is this the year?

Is this the year I get on top of self-indulgent habits? Or, is this the year I just cave in completely to creature comforts? Is this the year I get on top of my anger, guilt, and pride to become more fully who God would have me be? Is this the year?

Is this the year I become more sure of myself and what I stand for that I can be more accepting of others? Is this the year I can love my fellow man more fully despite our differences? Let this be the year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Bridges-a Repost

We were neighbors making no attempt to be friends. Our mutual lack of concern for the other and a small patch of woods separated us. Plus, there is a branch and an old fence in those woods which delineated our property line. Often, I heard him working on his place. He surely heard me on mine. We waved if we passed each other on the road, but we didn't even know each other's names.
One day we both happened to be close to our property line, and we carried on a short conversation through the woods, each other barely visible to the other through the brush. On another occasion, we found it easier to talk after I trimmed away a few bushes. As the "neighborship" grew, more and more bushes came down, and the view of my neighbor became clearer. Finally, I pushed down the old fence and cleared a path. Now, all we had to do was jump the branch to come talk to one another. Then, one day, my neighbor built a bridge over the branch. Now, there is a trail worn smooth by our friendship.
It happened a little at a time: clearing the brush, pushing down the fence, building the bridge. A line from a song written by Gloria Gaither says, "Fear builds walls instead of bridges." Life, it seems, is a lot about cutting away the underbrush of our fears, pushing down the fences of prior notions and visionless expectations, and building a bridge to a better life; a better me.

Christmas, "Joy to the World--," a Son is sent- the brush has been cleared, the fence torn down, and the Bridge has been built between God and man. May this year the path between us, be worn smooth by the tracks of our relationship.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Choosing to Believe Eagles

The buzzards waiting on the post tops, wings spread, were just waiting for me to fall over and die, I suppose. Yeah, I was really running that slowly. They must have been thinking that there is no hope for this old geezer. When he falls; it's chow time. Of course, I don't know what buzzards are thinking, really. But, as miserable as I felt on this run, it was easy to imagine a buzzard inner dialogue of that nature.

But, it was all in fun, toying with my vivid imagination. There is hope even for the slowest runner or the poorest soul. It is the Christmas season wherein we celebrate the birth of the Child of Hope. From His own humble beginnings, He changed everything. So, I chose to live with this Hope no matter how slow and painful my pace. I choose to believe those were really eagles watching me, to catch me should I fall. I choose to believe Christmas.

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40:31

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sort of Lost Myself

It was great that yet another bike ride caused no problems. Back at the truck, loading my bike, I was just beside myself with praise and thanks to God for extending my lease for a few more rides.

In all my joy, I drove off and left the front wheel of my bike on the side of the rode. It was just such a great moment, I sort of lost myself, I guess. When I realized it, went back; the wheel was gone. It will cost close to one hundred and fifty dollars to replace what I had been so careless with.

That same day, my son and his family came over, and we had a great time together. The grandchildren, the fire down at the pond, the love we share, left a warm feeling from it all.

Upon leaving, my son said he was sorry that I had lost my bike wheel. Somehow, at that moment, that loss seemed to pale in comparison to what I had. I told him that I can replace the wheel eventually, but my family are all well and happy. We are all here now. These are the things that cannot be repeated or replaced-ever.

As they drove away in the dark, I found myself again overcome with praise and thanks to God. In that joy, I sort of lost myself again.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Is This Going to Last?

Am I going to have to give up bike riding? That was, and is my fear after experiencing urinary pain after bike rides. It got pretty bad but before submitting to a urologist, I laid off the bike rides for two weeks. All went well.

Now I have bought a split-nose bike seat that is supposed to be specially designed to help with such problems, but I was afraid to try it out. What if I can't ride the bike anymore? I love my bike rides. What if I will be spending some pleasant afternoons in the urologist's waiting room rather than out on the open road on my bike? I just didn't want to know. But this is life and I just couldn't stay there.

An hour later I got off my split nose bike seat and prepared myself to know. It went well, thank God. Is this going to last? I hope so, but today, this day, I can ride my bike; soak it up, drink it in, revel in it. Oh yes, this day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Impress Her Quickly

My granddaughter nestled her head into my shoulder and went to sleep. It was comforting to think that my shoulder was a place of security; safe to yield to the vulnerability of sleep.
Oh, how I wish I could provide her that security from all she must encounter. How I would like to be there to hold her when the pains she must face bear down upon her.
But, I won’t be here for her. The trust she has for me will be betrayed by my absence - a life apart from her in the future. My age tells me that I probably won’t be around to see her graduate from high school. Time is short. I must impress her quickly. Quickly, I must try to leave some good of myself with her: something that she can use when the pains and disappointments come, and I won’t be there. Quickly, I must impress upon her with the active lifestyle, the continuous journey of personal and spiritual growth, and the faith for dependence upon God, through Jesus Christ.
Wake now, my child. I must impress you quickly.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Another Year Spent. Did I Spend It Wisely?

Another birthday passed a couple days ago, and birthdays alway bring an evaluation. Another year spent. Did I spend it wisely? What did I waste? Where did I grow? God, how did I do?

The number of these birthday things keep piling up and it is hard to tell how many more of these I will get to evaluate. So, time is of the essence and I can't afford to make too many poor decisions about the use of life force. I can't waste my punches. Funny thing though, as life becomes more intense in the allocation of time and force, it seems to have slowed down. Birthday upon birthday, I seem to be doing more of what is most meaningful and truly important. I still do a lot of things, but am less in a stress about it, less being chased about by life.

With each birthday I hope to be able to look back and see a wiser allocation of myself from the previous birthday. And when the birthday evaluations, and all else on this earth are over for me, I can have my final evaluation: Lord, how did I do?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ageless Truth

Truth doesn’t age. The years have taught that there is really nothing new out there. Stick around long enough and you will see that truth again. Out on the roads, in our training, I do not discover a new truth. It has already been created and discovered by countless generations before me. What I discover is that ageless truth within the aging self; a that already was, that lay latent within awaiting discovery. It is as if I arrive at a place, and first think it new, but a strange feeling suggests, I have really been there all the time.

All truly wise thoughts have been thought already, thousands of times but to truly make them ours, we must think them over again, honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.
Johann Goethe

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Fix Me, Fix Me!"

It is so easy and obvious to see the faults in others. The wrongness of the behavior of others is so glaringly apparent, like the blinking off and on of Christmas lights, begging the opportunist critic; “fix me, fix me!” And as long as working on other people is a full time job, there is just not the time or the demand to work on oneself.

In doing endurance sports I have always hoped that I was an inspiration for others to emulate. But, the thought crossed my mind the other day, as to whether I want to be an inspiration, or do I want to inspire. I had often thought they were the same thing but is being an inspiration really about me? Is it about me being something to be admired, or about others being inspired?

As a triathlete in my mid/ late sixties, do I really like it when others applaud my performance because I can feel like a tough old bird for my age? Or, do I do it so others might be inspired to challenge their own perceived age and physical limitations, regardless of the credits given?

Upon examining true motives I have often found myself prideful-pounding on my chest like some geriatric Tarzan. There is a scripture which says something to the effect, “Search me O God and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23) That is a scary proposition. It would be a lot easier and less painful to work on the faults of someone else. But, I have found that my greatest times of personal and spiritual growth occurs, after I have sincerely asked God to “fix me, fix me!” When I am more nearly "fixed" perhaps others will be inspired?