I walked a half marathon recently. The competitive part of me (which is more than I thought) would like to tell you that I walked it fast and at a great pace. I even caught up with some runners … at the end. The very end. The realistic side of me needs to tell you that really … I am lucky that I didn’t die or give up. Other than the obvious irony that I did a half marathon, there is another … for the extrovert that I am, I like to walk long distances by myself. Unplugged. And fast (did I mention fast?).
I love the uninterrupted think time, I love to finish a million thoughts and notice things I would never ever notice if driving in a car, chatting with a friend or lip syncing to my playlist. I loved seeing the sign that said “forward is a pace” held by the great folks that woke up before the sun to come and cheer and hand out water and gross goo stuff. I am grateful for the breathtaking, fall beauty that unfolded around the river that we ran/walked beside. I was so taken back by the scenery, I barely noticed the full marathoners running on the other side of the road. Which is good, they are intimidating to me, the (kind of fast) walker. But when I did take note of those running the full 26.2 miles, I was equally as in awe of them. They are amazing. They didn’t just wake up and decide to go run a marathon, they put some major hours into getting ready for this. They come in all shapes and sizes, strides and steps … and they rock. When they made it all the way to the turnaround and began to pass us, the walkers, I didn’t once want to trip them. There are some areas of my life where I am jealous of those that do better and more than me. But not this, I was in awe. They were having an experience that was like none I would ever have … on a road.
The final two miles, we were joined by hundreds of more runners. It took me a little off guard. They all had tons of energy and smiles. They were the 5Kers. And they were booking it. A little part of me wished we had different bibs that said “I am doing the half marathon”, so they wouldn’t wonder why we were dragging so much. (pause for irony: A. they weren’t thinking about me at all and B. I could walk a half but never run a 5K. they rocked too). Then that little part of my thinking was run over by a marathoner who whizzed right by me. Huh. I think I would be pretty darn peeved if I was a marathoner … the full thing … and I had to share a finish line with a 5ker. Really? Where is the glory in that?
Where is the glory in that? Let that hang on your heart for a bit.
I am pretty sure that when we all run across the finish line of this earth straight into actual GLORY and see Jesus, we are not going to be thinking of who ran the full thing or the short sprint. Jesus sure won’t be thinking that. There won’t be a variety of finish lines marked with how long or well or hard we have been running this race called life. I imagine it will be a lot like the Chosen Marathon. People will be standing on the sidelines cheering for you, welcoming you, so very glad to see you. There will be people who at one time were orphans but are now a part of an eternal Family. They will be standing in line to give you high fives and maybe even place medals around your neck. Medals that we will turn around and give right back to our Savior. And there will be snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. Okay, probably not the snacks, I imagine we will be full and content upon our arrival.
I’ll be doing the half marathon again next year … and hope to train better for it. I’ll train so I won’t be so darn sore after the event, but also so I can see more, experience more. Everyone starts somewhere. We all started with newborn deer like baby steps years ago. Then we learned to walk. And each step in each season gave it’s own new challenges and successes. But we didn’t just stop at walking like a child. We took longer strides and continued to go further distances. We left the play pen and moved on in life.
The 5K is a good and needed and incredible event. (If you haven’t done it, do it). But it’s shorter than the half and full marathon. Going a longer distance allows you to see, learn and experience so much more. Most likely, I will always be a half marathoner on the road. But I pray and strive to LIVE like a Marathoner. Slow and steady. Purposeful. Focused. Carried by God each step I take. Impacting others for Him as I keep that forward pace.
Why not live like that? It sure seems like the finish line will be so so so much sweeter if I live life FULL out for Christ and focused on the finish line.