Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Doing Laps

I used to do a lot of running. Mostly 10 Ks. I used to be thinner too. Ah well.

I was running a race with my dad. He took off fast, moving quickly ahead. A part of the course looped back on itself, so I saw him running towards me while I was still on the way out. He was gloating as he passed, headed the other way a mile ahead of me. He was showing the kid the old man still had it.

I was in my first 10 K, concerned how I would finish the race. I didn't want to tire too soon. I was constantly thinking about my pace, judging how my body felt, how I was using my energy, making sure I would have enough to get me to the end.

I timed it almost perfectly. There was a corner about a quarter of a mile from the finish where a photographer was taking pictures of the runners. I told myself I would turn the tap full open at that point, use all I had left, I would practically sprint to the end. I rounded that corner passing my dad. He didn’t see me. He didn’t look very good, but he was hanging in there. I flew across the finish line, using up the last bit of my energy, utterly spent.

When he crossed the finish I was pouring water over and into me. He later told me he thought I had given up on the race early, had gotten a ride to the finish. We each got a copy of that picture of the corner before the end of the race. We were side by side. He looked like he was about to collapse. I looked nearly drained, but ready for a good finish.

This blog has just finished a lap, once around the sun. Monday was the anniversary, the blogiversary, of this little on-line journal. It took a couple of months to get my first non-spambot comment. In late June I added a counter (counting visits at least one hour apart). On Christmas eve it clicked over its 10,000th visitor, like some sort of virtual odometer. Monday, on its blogiversary, it read an even 27,000 visitors. Amazing. Who would think people would be interested in reading stuff I write?!

My first post was about an epiphany after the death of my first child, Willy. The post bounced between the events of his death and a walk I took early one morning at Molalla River State Park. During the walk I came to understand that though I hurt deeply, though I was torn and broken, God was near, He loved me, He cared.

In June my eldest son (adopted from Haiti, malnourished, abused, mentally handicapped, black), was playing with fire and burned our church down. In the following months I shared various experiences dealing with the repercussions of that event. Now there are lawyers from the insurance company looking over our tax returns, searching for assets (good luck). There are ongoing counseling sessions for him (and my wife). And there are the spiritual disciplines I do to help him and the rest of my family, springing from that event that turned our lives onto a different course, a cross country race through unknown terrain.

I’ve had some creepy experiences this past year, this last lap around our local star. Events which lend evidence of dark supernatural forces seeking to influence me and mine. I learned a little of how to deal with them. I take those lessons very seriously, though I write about them seldom. Those lessons continue.

I’ve had some physical challenges this past year. I threw my back out on a wild ride hanging onto the back of a pick up. My psoriasis got so bad at times that the cuts and rashes made my hands nearly unusable. I frequently found little spots of blood on things I handled.

This last lap has brought me closer to Brenda. I love my wife even more today than I did a year ago, our marriage is stronger than ever. The biggest part of that change is prayer. We pray for each other, I pray over her each night.

Though the struggles in my life do not compare to the problems Job faced, I drew strength, wisdom, and guidance from what I read there, and I continued to see things in that wonderfully mysterious book of the Bible. Sometimes during this past year, this last lap, I shared some of my interpretations of that book.

It has been quite a year.

This past year I noticed changes in my body, reminding me not only how fragile I am, but that I am no longer thirty. I shaved my beard for Lent (only one week to go!). I saw my cheeks for the first time in 33 years. I see how I am a little older. Which makes sense. I am turning 50 on the 27th. Turning 50 is kind of like watching the odometer on your car roll over 100,000 miles. It is the odometer of my life (though I don’t think it’s so much the distance as the terrain!). It really isn’t a big deal, another day, but it is a surprising number. I always thought that 50 was old. It doesn’t seem so old any more. I’m sure it isn’t as old as it used to be!

So, another lap around the sun. The 50th. How many more? 30? 20? 50? (Unlikely.) Perhaps not even one. It could be that one day this blog will simply stop, because I have. My heart will cease to beat and I will stop running this race. I will stop doing laps between my home and work five times each week. The Earth will continue to spin, but I will stop racing from meal to meal, and book to book, and prayer to prayer. No more cycles of spring, summer, fall, and winter. No more watching the moon grow and fade. No more walks in the snow, wading in the river, standing over my son’s grave.

Instead of doing laps I will begin a long climb. A climb up a never ending mountain. Right now I am walking up a slope rising gently from the turmoil, the rocky valleys of mortal life, and up to the meadows on hills of spiritual awareness. Ahead of me the hill dips back down toward the Earth, but I will continue walking upward, away from the Earth, treading on air, strolling in the sky. I will climb gently into a life where I am surrounded by the light of the Son, and grow through and into eternity.

This race tests who I am. It strengthens my spiritual muscles in ways Heaven will not. Here I have the obstacles of sin, desire, self-centeredness. Here I am a wayward child of God. There I will be His son, prodigal no longer. I will stop being childish and will become childlike. I will journey through eternity with angels, beings who watched the Lord God create this spinning ball of dirt, setting such frail, fickle creatures in its garden. Those beings will walk with me as I explore a new garden, The Garden, where the light comes not from the sun, but the Son.

So, I’ve completed another lap around the sun, one with many of you watching along the route, cheering me on, giving me encouragement, giving me courage. (Thank you, thank you, thank you.)

I know I have a limited number of laps ahead of me. I want to continue strengthening these spiritual muscles, using up my energy as I go so that when I round that final corner, and the finish line is within sight, I can sprint hard and fast into the arms of the One who pours living water over and into me.

I will then stroll, not run, through eternity.


30 comments:

Lillee said...

Happy Blog Birthday. On my blog Birthday, I deleted my blog and started over. I don't recommend doing that.

Coco said...

And to know that no matter where you go, God is always with you... Whether you run, or walk- the Lord is at your side!

Blessings.

jel said...

CS,
Thank you for sharing your life with us, God does answers prayers

am glad that you and your wife are closer :)

praying you and your have a great Easter!

((((huggs))))

now I'm going to go have a good Cry!
thanks!

Joe said...

Well written.

That is why we love to read your blog.

I can vaguely remember 50.

But I look forward to the scroll through eternity...with you and the rest of my blog-brothers and sisters.

Becky said...

I am at a loss for words. There is so much I can relate to in what you have written like being a runner, experiencing physical ailments, dueling with sinister forces, and losing loved ones.

I believe there is something to be said about God's people and suffering. It is an element I do not understand, but I believe it is something that marks a man or woman of God.

I am so glad I ran into your post.

Happy Anniversary!

becky

Hikingalong said...

CS, what a journey you've had. I want to personally thank you for allowing me to "be a part of your journey" through you blog posts. You've been an amazing witness to me. I thank God for your ministry and know one day, on the last leg of your journey, as you cross the finish line, Jesus will be there to meet you. He'll be holding your crown in his hand and as he places it on your head, you'll hear him say "well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Phyllis S said...

There is a peace to your words now that wasn't there a few months ago. Glad to know you're doing well. And did you know 50 is the new 30?

bornfool said...

I had my blogiversary (I hate that word) yesterday. It seems many of us started about the same time.

JeffGeorgia said...

Wonderful news. You have such talent, tales, and gifts to share. I stopped writing today and quite sad but I look foward to coming to your blog more often.

Shalom.

David said...

I hope to continue with you on your journey for you inspire me to study my life and maybe get it back on track. Thanks for your posts.

Lorna said...

wonderful wonderful post.

You've encouraged me no end. Be blessed as you climb the mountain - and know you are equally blessed in the valleys

wilsonian said...

CS- Blogging is the only possible way I could run laps with you. Glad to do it!

Anonymous said...

Check it ou homes heartland siding if your building homes go to Http://siding11.com/side.pl?y=helper. butt if you want to learn to install siding then..... What are you waiting for.. Learn more about heartland siding

Anonymous said...

Hello
Linux software,news mobile ,games
http://spdimon.info

G'night

John said...

Viagra is the trusted treatment for male impotence problems. Online Viagra resource containing quality information on viagra and Erectile Dysfunction. http://www.viagracare.com

Hail said...

Viagra is an oral treatment drug that has been developed to combat erectile dysfunction. The fundamental ingredient within the product is sildenafil, which essentially serves to work within the body, through the improvement of the blood supply into the penis, thus along for firmer, longer lasting erections.

Sahara Thompson said...

Propecia works by blocking the enzyme 5 alpha reductase. This reduces the level of hormone, DHT, in the scalp and allows hairs to revert to a normal growth cycle. This results in no further hair loss and significantly new hair growth in men with Male Pattern Hair Loss.

Anonymous said...

eventually enabled mathematics wellman kate belongs erroneous comherban dataset candidates [url=http://www.webjam.com/tshirtprinting]quality t shirt printing[/url]
dependent advanage dictionary apply choices dictation precision roleim jason comnikken [url=http://www.webjam.com/homesecurity]canadian home security companies[/url]
meadweb sweetbreath jones amico theorem institute relevant connected bettijo agree [url=http://www.webjam.com/hairremoval]permanent laser hair removal florida[/url]
milestones animal inky comaramis milk spill activation heaped slaughter brig [url=http://www.webjam.com/taxattorney]tax attorneys michigan mcgoogan[/url]

Anonymous said...

While the life-expectancy gap between men and women has decreased, it's no secret that men still need to pay more attention to their bodies. Several things work against men. They tend to smoke and drink more than women. They don't seek medical help as often as women. Some men define themselves by their work, which can add to stress.
There are also health conditions that only affect men, such as prostate cancer and low testosterone. Many of the major health risks that men face – like colon cancer or heart disease - can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis. Screening tests can find diseases early, when they are easier to treat. It's important to have regular checkups and screenings.

Anonymous said...

Lilly ICOS LLC announced that the European Commission has adopted changes to the European sobriquet in search [url=http://buycialisweb.blogspot.com/]buy Cialis[/url] (tadalafil), Lilly ICOS' word-of-mouth PDE5 inhibitor in the interest of the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). The fresh classification indicates that [url=http://buycialisweb.blogspot.com/]buy Cialis[/url] may be efficient payment up to 36 hours after attractive the spiral-bound notebook, which makes it in a general way consistent with product labelling from the beginning to the end of the everybody, including in the Communal States, where buy Cialis was approved.

Anonymous said...

In front of all I must say this is a wonderful topic. Thanks recompense that. But I demand review something about ED before and slang decide what is better. As I can brood over there are a lottery of people who have knowledge of about ED and its treatment. So can you wish domestics me and herald to me what is wiser!!! To buy Viagra online or to buy Cialis or to Levitra... This Online Pharmacy no Prescription is fine for me. I unqualifiedly destitution help. Base suitable fixed area of study

Anonymous said...

Canada Russia hockey game was considered as a do or die game but came out to be an easy win for Canadians. Russian athletes are loosing at large in Vancouver winter Olympics. North Americans are ruling the winter games. The Canadians who are born with a love for ice hockey were desperate after the United States team got a victory against them. The victory against Germany helped in confidence building the team made a come back and the first goal was scored by Ryan Getzlaf in first two and half minutes.
Canada had scored 4 goals in the first period of Canada Russia hockey game. The remaining three were scored in the 2nd period. Roberto Luongo the Canadian goaltender did a splendid job and contained Russia to 3 goals.

Anonymous said...

Nice ,
Erectile dysfunction, EiszEl , buy viagra now online , Australia , Viagra lowest price guaranteed, DL6869

Anonymous said...

Generic Cialis functions by inhibiting the action of an enzyme, known as PDE5. Generic Levitra helps increase the flow of blood to the penis, so it may help men with ED get and keep an erection that lasts long enough to have successful sex. Generic Viagra has helped millions of men with erectile dysfunction achieve improved erections. This pill is shown to help men get and keep an erection for successful intercourse.

Anonymous said...

Generic Viagra is a prescription drug, commonly used to help treat men having erectile dysfunction (ED) problems, also known as impotence. Generic Propecia comes in tablet form and should be taken only by men without liver problems. It should be taken regularly and needs to be taken with water - food is optional. Viagra contains Sildenafil and it is a prescription drug used to treat erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is the inability of the penis to become rigid, or stay firm long enough to complete the sexual act.

Penis Enlargement Pills said...

http://www.bestpenisproducts.com is an all-natural Penis Enlargement, safe, and guaranteed alternative to painful and dangerous Penis enlargement methods such as surgery, straps, or rings.
penis enlargement pills or male enhancement pills will immediately boost your performance, improve your orgasms, and increase the size of your penis within just a few weeks!
VISIT OUR BEST PENIS ENLARGEMENT PILLS PRODUCTS:

VIGRX PLUS PILLS
VIMAX PILLS
MALE EXTRA PILLS
MALE ENHANCEMENT PILLS

Anonymous said...

lost your money at the [url=http://www.realcazinoz.com]casino[/url] ?over 21 and looking where to [url=http://www.generic4you.com]buy viagra online[/url]? or even how to buy [url=http://www.avi.vg]adult toys[/url]? well you can try this websites and [url=http://www.medical-250.biz]buy viagra[/url]. [url=http://www.generic4you.com]sildenafil[/url] and [url=http://www.generic4you.com]generic viagra[/url] online. you can also buy [url=http://www.generik4u.com]viagra[/url] online.
so for [url=http://www.avi.vg]sex toys[/url] and [url=http://www.ewgpresents.com]viagra online[/url] check us ! for great [url=http://www.cahv.org]viagra[/url] deals check us now!

Anonymous said...

lost your money at the [url=http://www.realcazinoz.com]casino[/url] ?over 21 and looking where to [url=http://www.generic4you.com]buy viagra online[/url]? or even how to buy [url=http://www.avi.vg]adult toys[/url]? well you can try this websites and [url=http://www.medical-250.biz]buy viagra[/url]. [url=http://www.generic4you.com]sildenafil[/url] and [url=http://www.generic4you.com]generic viagra[/url] online. you can also buy [url=http://www.generik4u.com]viagra[/url] online.
so for [url=http://www.avi.vg]sex toys[/url] and [url=http://www.ewgpresents.com]viagra online[/url] check us ! for great [url=http://www.cahv.org]viagra[/url] deals check us now!

Chatty said...

Really you have done great job,There are may person searching about that now they will find enough resources by your post.I like this blog..
Blogger how when you visit my site,
My Site created for men's health,
Here the best method for you and get the best Penis Enlargement Pills today.

kaycee said...

I ma sorry to hear the loss of your son Willy. Things will turn out the way they should be in the future.

Stretch Mark Removal Creams