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Monday, November 2, 2009

Running Home

I'd like to share a recent newspaper column that I wrote which seems to have touched the hearts of several people. The tone may be a little more formal than usual and the metaphor familiar and simple, but it was written for an audience of both believers and nonbelievers. So this is what's on my heart this month, and it is the column that has meant the most to me personally. I hope it touches you, too.

Recently I lost a dear friend and high school classmate to cancer.

Since Jim was a world-class runner, I often think about him while running.

The day after his funeral, I decided to go for a run but dreaded it because I hadn’t run in more than a week and knew it would be difficult.

I started strong, but with each mile it grew more difficult to understand how Jim or any human could endure an ultra marathon, 50 miles.

At mile 5 I was enjoying all the beauty around me, but by mile 8, I doubted I could finish. By mile 9, I was gasping, my gait slowed to a limp, and my hips hurt so badly I wanted to cry. I just kept thinking, “Go to the next telephone pole. Make it to the next mailbox.”

At dusk, the scenery grew dim, but I saw the lights of my house in the distance. I became completely focused on getting home: seeing my family, resting and being refreshed. Nothing else compared to this end—no chirping birds, no red and gold leaves, no fitness goals. Home meant everything.

At the last mile, I thought of several friends who passed recently. All fought diseases that wore them down with each passing week or month much as the miles were taking their toll on me.

For so long, they relished their journeys and were not ready to head home. I wondered if there came a time when everything around them, while still lovely, began to dim as the lights of “home” became brighter.

Parting from people we love is sad, but the sadder thing is to be in a race with no goal in mind. Merely to run and run and run through life stopping only for one novelty after another is very tiresome.

I know some don’t believe we can have an assurance of a “home” at the end of our lives. I couldn’t see my house at mile 8, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t there.

CS Lewis said: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

Faith in Christ isn’t “pie in the sky.” It challenges you to find meaning in suffering and death and prompts your spirit to admit, “This is hard truth” when truth must be faced, whether or not it’s politically correct or raises even more questions, such as, “Why Jim?”

As I grieve, I remind myself that Jim was not ultimately made for this life, beautiful as his life was with his family. He fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith (2 Tim. 4:7).

So now, at the end of each run when I re-live the joy of returning home, I take a second to think about Jim, who is really home, and that brings me an even deeper joy.

Please visit Linda Crow at her personal blog: 2nd Cup of Coffee and 2nd Cup Columns.

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Blogger Denise said...

God bless you, this was precious.

November 2, 2009 at 1:26 AM  
Blogger I am blessed! said...

Thank you for sharing. The death of several people has touched me recently, too. I'm so grateful that I have a home and a hope for the future. I also love to run and can relate to your illustration. I love that Paul also uses running a race as an illustration of life. It is tiring and it is tempting to quit, but this is our one life we have to run and we must run it with endurance knowing that suffering is part of it.

November 2, 2009 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger Cherie said...

What a beautiful analogy. I LOVED the C.S. Lewis quote. Surprisingly it's one I haven't heard before. Thanks for blessing me today.

November 2, 2009 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Cherie Hill said...

Loved this! Thank you for giving me encouragement to fight the fight and finish the race!
God bless!

November 2, 2009 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger Need More Words said...

Beautiful story. My husband and daughter are ultra runners and I have been with them at many races. I understand the endurance and pushing beyond what you think you are capable of just to get to the finish line and say I did it. Life has its endurance races, disappointments, highs and lows too. Knowing where the finish line is keeps us going, with peace in our hearts.

November 2, 2009 at 1:31 PM  
Anonymous alisa said...

Wow! They put that in a newspaper?! I tried a couple of times to put a Christian article in two of my local newspapers and got rejection!

Loved it! Such a beautiful, yet simple reminder!

November 2, 2009 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger James praker said...

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Thanks for sharing this information!

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November 3, 2009 at 5:36 AM  
Blogger BizzieLizzie said...

PHENOMENAL! Loved the read and comparison! The quote by CSLewis - sums it up for me! So happy I started my morning with this message!! Thanks for sharing!

November 3, 2009 at 6:17 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Thanks so much for this. We lost my husband's sister this week and as we were standing around her bed praying she arrived Home in the arms of our Lord. I love the the metaphor you used it's a perfect example of what I believe it will feel like. We go through this life pressing on sometimes feeling like we can make it to the next step, until one day we round the corner and see the lights in the window! Just beautiful words and thoughts!

November 4, 2009 at 11:21 AM  

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