After an extensive knee surgery back in May of this year, I’ve been slowly trying to get back to “normal,” but I’m not really quite sure yet what that new normal looks like yet. My limp is finally gone, and that’s good! And I’ve been going to the local park that is alongside the St. Clair Lake and walking my old route. Sometimes I have to cut it short, but other times I can walk the entirety of the park with just a couple of stops. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s okay. Just two months ago I couldn’t even make it up the stairs, or carry my dinner to the table because I was using crutches. It’s okay. I’m making progress.
Years ago, I used to actually go running at this very same park, but those days are over. And back in 1986 through about 1991, I used to actually run for an hour every single day. Boy, I was in great shape back then!
I’ve broken my ankle (taking out the garbage – nothing exciting), broken my foot (repelling! THAT was fun!), had a root repair on my knee (not so much fun), torn my calf muscle (Irish dancing)….. And I’m afraid to ask – what next? But I keep plugging along. My “plugging along” just keeps changing, that’s all, and in the words of my physical therapist, I have “a little hitch in my giddyup!” Okay….
Yesterday when I was sitting on the bench at the park watching younger-than-me people jog past, skateboard by, or walk briskly, I couldn’t help but remember all of the years behind me. I thought about all of the physical training I did in the Army, and how much I HATED running in formation – at least, until I was stationed in Korea and finally had a Commander who insisted we run slow, and that we run for a long, long time. Now, THAT was my kind of running. None of this sprinting, fast stuff. That wasn’t for me. I hated it, and I wasn’t the only one who hated it.
I had a friend named Keith Bedard and he hated it too. In fact, he hated running sooo much, that he would drink a whole bottle of Castor Oil right before it was his moment to take off for the timed running portion of the PT test. The test began right in front of our barracks, and finished right in front of our barracks too, and as soon as he passed the finish line, he kept his pace all the way up the stairs in the barracks, and into the bathroom. He didn’t need to worry about having to run again for six more months when we were tested again. It was over, and two miles in 11 minutes was his time. (That is not a typo.)
What’s my point?
Well, I’ve just been thinking a lot lately about our race as Christians. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Sometimes, our race looks a whole lot different than it did just a short time ago. Sometimes, our run changes frequently. Our run might have a little limp because of an injury because, let’s face it – we’re all going to fall. No one runs the race perfectly. We might even need frequent breaks (as we heal), or a short rest (while we pray). We might need to be still (and listen), seek wisdom (from other runners)…… and yeah, sometimes, we might need a slug of some spiritual Castor Oil to get us through something that’s just really, really hard, (like difficult truth from someone who loves us).
My race has been rugged lately, but I’ve got cheerleaders on both sides of the course, a few good friends who are right alongside me singing cadence, and a Savior and a daughter at the finish line, and by the grace of God, I’m gonna get home! Like my Pastor says, we’re all just headed home!