Thursday, July 30, 2015

From the Ashes

Next week I begin regular training for a half ironman distance event.....

Somewhat subdued in this one. Failure does that, I suppose. However, I am no less determined. Perhaps, I don't want to over-promise and under-deliver on these long distance endurance events as I have done in the past? Self indulgent rah-rah is not going to help. I just need to purposefully do the training and the event.

However, there is one aspect of this that I do not want to be subdued about: the wisdom and guidance of God in all this. Failure has made me aware and a different type of different than that if I had succeeded. Failure has brought me a deeper understanding of humility, forgiveness, and perseverance. I have learned wholly how to fail and get up again. I have learned how to ask God to pull me from the ashes and I have witnessed His power and love in doing that for me. I have experienced a degree of thankfulness to God I could have never attained if I had not failed so many times.

"All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose" Romans 8:28

Thank God, praise God for He has called me from the ashes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Child In His Eyes

The eyes of the eighty-one year old man glittered alive when he began to tell how he once did triathlons. Years have passed and the world has changed, but his core hasn’t. Now he was training for the senior Olympics. In the corners of his mouth was a sort of peace-with-oneself grin. He had been touched where the spark still remained. Ever so slightly you could see him straighten as his grin grew to a large smile, and like a child, he excitedly told me more. You could tell he felt at once alive and, for that moment, resurrected from obligatory life, and transported to the child he had always been. It was easy to see the child in his eyes.

And there is Jason, less than half that age: father, husband, hockey player, ultra-distance runner, and now an Ironman. He tempers his many obligations with a childlike enthusiasm for life and big bites of it. I can remember at a family gathering once, when I sat down beside him asked him something about his endurance training and exploits. The lights came on. He had that same look of that 81 year old man telling me about his triathlon past and training for senior Olympics. Like my 81 year old friend, Jason spoke with confidence, hope, and enthusiasm for what he had done and what he was training for: Ironman Lake Placid. He had an injury he was trying to work through; time constraints to be overcome, but you could tell he had the “bit between the teeth” and would not be easily turned aside. Jason had that child in his eyes. He made the hard training. He took on Ironman Lake Placid when conditions were not the best. One step and then another, no matter the conditions: He wanted to be an ironman. It was his dream. And , down the finishers chute, here comes Jason, overwhelmed with childlike exuberance in a culmination of all the hard training the early hours, the long hours; all worth it; celebrating the gift of life by living his dream.

And God bless those unafraid to dream big dreams, to put it all on the line in pursuit of that dream, unafraid: unafraid of failure, unafraid of pain, unafraid of expressing the joy of life, unafraid of letting themselves go; unafraid, ready, and prepared, reaching up to put the child in their eyes again and again.