Bible, Christian Life, God, hiking, Life, Things I've Learned

Running

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14

These passages have been hard for me to get through my head, and I’ll tell you why. I ran track when I was a sophomore in high school. The Sis and The Sis-In-Law and the rest of our friends were on the track team, and I thought it would be fun to join them. Because I wasn’t fast enough to run sprints and couldn’t run for long enough to do the longer races, I ran the 400 meter race. (I am told now it’s one of the hardest races to run. Thanks for letting me know then, track coach (not).) Turns out I am just a very slow runner, and I lost every single race. I mean, I came in dead last. Every. Single. Race. I went to every practice and every meet, but since I wasn’t one of the winning team members the coaches pretty much ignored me and didn’t give me any pointers. When it was time to give out awards, I really hoped that I could get a letter just because I tried as hard as I could and ran every race regardless of my lack of talent and subsequent embarrassment, but you only got a letter if you received a certain number of points and that meant you had to win events. (Our school didn’t offer letters in choir. If they had, I totally would have gotten all the letters.)

Hebrews 12:1 talks about running with endurance, and Philippians 3:14 talks about winning the prize. Well, I ran but I didn’t have much endurance (hence my not being able to run the longer races), and I never won a prize. The only competition I’ve ever won on my own was a spelling competition in middle school, and then when it came to the bigger contest I didn’t come close to winning that one. Not being a competitive person by nature, I don’t enter contests if I know I will be competing directly against others. I don’t like competition. I mean, I enjoy winning but really don’t have confidence that I will.

So I have always been rather flummoxed when reading these Bible passages about running and winning, since now I can’t even run at all (Well, I can run half a block. Then I have to stop because I can’t breathe. Ow. Running hurts.) and I have never been good enough at anything to win any important competitions. And I am not that great at pressing on toward goals I set for myself, so there’s also that.

I have decided, however, to replace “run” with “hike” in my thinking. I can hike with perseverance and reach the hiking goal, so that speaks to me better then the idea of running. I have reached many summits (though not any 14ers, but then I haven’t tried) and have only had to turn around a couple of times, mostly because of sketchy snow on the trail. This gives me hope that although I will never be like Jesus completely, I can move forward and become more like Him as I hike through life. I’m a slow hiker, but I get places.

Me on a summit

Obviously there is so much more to these scriptures, but that is for another post!

Aging, Baffled, Health, Life, Memories, Miscellaneous, Observations, Poetry

The Rime of the Ancient 40-Year Old Person

Based on Part 1 of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The mirror – it startles me. (I wrote this poem 12 years ago today.  To say the mirror startles me now is an understatement.)

Skull or Lady in Mirror

It is an ancient, common tale,
And we do not like to think
That our lustrous hair and lovely eye
May someday be extinct.

Our big bright eyes were open wide,
And we were cute and thin;
We did not fret, the mirror showed
Pink cheeks and glowy skin.

It held us there in happiness
“Yes, I approve,” it said.
And thoughts of aging gracefully
Were put into our heads.

It holds me now in disbelief,
I gasp when I stand still,
And catch a glimpse of how it shows
Its lack of kind goodwill.

My heart is sinking like a stone,
I cannot choose but hear,
And thus cackles that shiny fiend
“You’re not the same, my dear!”

Then I was cheered, my face had cleared,
Of spots and pimply beasts,
Below though, they were lurking,
To get me while I sleep.

The sun is up now in the east,
Out of my bed I crawl,
And see a face reflected that
Just isn’t me at all!

Higher and higher every day,
My expectations loomed.
I’d diet, I’d fuss, I’d stay for hours
In the exercising room.

Frustrated, I pace back and forth,
Red in the face, I sigh.
The scale, who is not my friend,
Shows me an all-time high!

“I’ve worked so hard, I do not know
What gives, for heaven’s sake?”
And thus goes on the ancient rhyme
From night until I wake.

Now a storm-blast, not a smile,
Assails me when I think,
That I’m NOT aging gracefully,
The opposite, I think!

I’ve sloping masts and dipping prow,
I’ve crow’s feet, lines; I’m pudgy.
These thoughts just make me want to eat
Some pie, or something fudgy.

I should turn back, loud roars the snack,
(I ate it, now it’s quiet!)

And now there is a misty fog,
My vision’s getting blur’y.
The eye doctor said “It’s just age,”
And told me not to worry.

It really seems just yesterday
That I was seventeen.
No shape of what I used to be
The mirror is all between.

The mirrors are here, the mirrors are there,
The mirrors are all around:
They mock and laugh, and roar and howl,
My self-respect is down!

At length did sneak the wrinkles,
Through the years they came;
As they had been a horrid smell,
I curse them, but in vain.

I ate chocolate to comfort me,
Chubby and plump I grew.
My jeans did split with a thunder-fit;
But I would not buy new!

And a good dose of denial came by,
“You’ll be fit again!” did follow,
But every day, I was still plump
In sadness I still wallow.

In mist or cloud, in sun or gray,
Age perched to stare at me;
While overnight, I’d think each morn,
It multiplied times three.

“God save thee, ancient lady,
From your loss of self-esteem! –
Why look’st thou so?” — “I’m old, and lo!
I bought the hundred-dollar cream!”

~Noelle Marier  ©2010