|For "Gun Time" (between the beginning and my beginning), add fifty seconds|
There is room for improvement--it's the largest room in the house! And this suggests my complete willingness to enter another marathon.
In the last post I mentioned I do not style myself a competitive runner, as I have not contested many races thus far. But from an early age, with respect to those domains of interest to me (academic, musical), I have been competitively-minded; and with practice, who knows whether I can beat--at the very least--my previous time?
My seminary days taught me that there will always be brighter, more personable, more ______ people than I. And...that's OK...I guess...yes, it is. As you may suspect, I continue to struggle with competition. To some degree it is healthy and perhaps even holy. "Anticipate one another in showing honor," St. Paul said (Rom 12:10), but perhaps only that context--the practice of virtue--is appropriate for competition. Even there, ego (Etching God Out) can obscure the purpose of our good deeds: to "let your light shine...so that [people] may...glorify your heavenly Father" (Mt 5:16). Strangely enough, another way to read "anticipate" is, "consider [the other] better, to esteem [the other] more highly": not attempting to score higher, but to recognize the achievements of your competitors. Now there's altruism! There's magnanimity!
I have gained a renewed respect for the art of running, knowing that I have much to learn if I wish to continue and improve. I have some confidence in the likelihood of finishing subsequent marathons. If only these knots in my muscles would untangle! In that vein, I am also becoming more sensitive to my body's aches. Exercise seems to cause pain, for which reason many people choose to avoid it. Instead, I accept aches and even injuries (only minor ones so far) as an occupational hazard if I want to pursue this particular mode of fitness. Accept, but make every attempt to remedy. Accept, but often run through.
Many people have lifted me up by their prayers/positive thoughts. Their names will be written in heaven. In their service the Lord deftly hides His command to "Go and Do Likewise" (Lk 10:37). Duly noted! Although this race was a way for me to "glorify God with [my] body" (1 Cor 6:20), running is a way to fit me for maximum service to God and neighbor, in and out of strictly ministerial contexts. But it's all ministry; it's all service. In so many respects, I need to remember that I am part of the human race, equally capable of encouraging fellow travelers. I look forward to encountering you along the Way!