Remembering to Count

Image result for gratitude

Distance: 4.53 miles (7.3 km) Time: 41’ 35” (PB 38’ 38”)

Out for a run on my 54th birthday.

If at age 18 I had been offered that as a life outcome – still running a 9 minute mile pace over 4.53 miles at age 54, I think I would have gone for it.

Of course I would also have laughed, as I was running around 6 minute miles then – admittedly only over 2 miles and I was 30 kilos lighter!

But to still be running after such a very long time is something of an achievement.

But I am increasingly aware that it is also – perhaps even more so – a gift and a grace.

So many of my friends and family have not been so fortunate with their health.

There is a saying full of wisdom that says;

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

It is often the absence of blessings that we feel, rather than their presence.

One of the characteristics of a good and wholesome life is the ability to appreciate and give thanks for the good.

One of the characteristics of a good and wholesome life

is the ability to appreciate and give thanks for the good.

That can range from saying ‘thank you’ when someone holds the door open for you, or is considerate in some way; to noticing a sunrise or a sunset, or a flower, or the way the light plays on the ceiling; right up to valuing and appreciating the people who make your life better, more joyful, fun.

At 54 my life is filled with many good things. My goal is to appreciate them and to focus on them more than the things that aren’t so great.

There is also good and beauty in the world.

And I am grateful.

 

 

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Run no. 95 –Difficult but Doable

Difficult

Distance: 4.53 miles (7.3 km) Time: 42’ 47” (PB 38’ 38”)

As I started off I felt that I was going at a good pace (for me!). I decided to try and maintain that pace throughout the run.

It was very painful as I’m just getting back to regular running after a break – although that seems to be my most common state!

I’m not usually someone who looks at split times, but for some reason I glanced at my watch at the half-way point and was amazed to see that it read 19’ 41”; which is actually pretty close to my personal best time.

Which I guess tells you everything you need to know about me as a runner; as I get fitter I don’t go any faster, I just slow down less.

Real runners would want to talk about speed training, but at my age I am really so not interested in speed!

I just want to maintain a reasonable level of fitness and control my weight; both of which have suffered in recent months.

It has been a complicated time in my life circumstances, as a job comes to an end, and as yet there is nothing else in sight. I have been applying for posts that I thought were a good fit for me, only to be rejected every time; which even though you rationalise it, is still a psychological blow. And when you don’t feel good about yourself that tends to express itself in ways that aren’t helpful and feedback back into the negativity.

It was amazing to me that unfit, carrying a few kilos too many I was still able to run at my fastest ever pace – even though I fell off quite badly towards the end.

I fell off quite badly towards the end

I discovered that it is still doable, just difficult; just really painful and unpleasant.

Which was my spiritual lesson of the day. We are told in the Bible that;

 without faith it is impossible to please God Hebrews 11:6

Which, if ever you needed a starter for ten on whether the Christian life is easy or hard, you have your answer.

Someone once said;

Faith is like a muscle, it only gets stronger when exercised.

Others have said;

Faith is spelt R.I.S.K.

And in some senses I believe both of these to be true. However I think the key component of faith is learning to live with not understanding. Learning to embrace the mystery of God, who is often, opaque, obscure, confusing.

the key component of faith

is learning to live with not understanding.

Learning to embrace the mystery of God,

who is often, opaque,

obscure,

confusing.

It is only faith that can hold on when nothing makes sense. If you want to see the awfulness of that experience played out in a human life you have only to read the story of Jonah or Job.[1]

But although their faith was rocked, fissured, stretched to breaking point, it did not fail. God would not allow it to.

All that God asks us to face is difficult but doable.

 

[1] You can get an in-depth look at Jonah through my book Jonah the Epistle of Wild Grace – available free here http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/stephenjohnmarch