Hebrews 12

My brother, who’s a preacher, (hey, every family has one!), asked me for some inspiration stories about running because he’ll soon be preaching on Hebrews 12.

As usual, I wasn’t much help…


I got no inspirational stories aboot running races.

Running sucks.

The only reason people do it, is because they can’t catch a ball, so they can’t participate in a real sport.

Or, we run to get away from predators.

You know which animal predators that humans can out run… well… snakes,…uh…spiders… raccoons… you get my point. Alpha predators remind us where we belong on the food chain. As dinner.

You hear about the two friends hiking, they see a big, mean, hungry grizzly. One friend starts to run. One friend says, “You’re crazy! You can’t outrun a grizzly.” The other yells back, “I just have to outrun you!”

Running sucks.

You ever notice, after the race, you are basically right back where you started?

Why run?

To beat your own time? Don’t worry, Father Time will beat you.

Why run?

For fleeting glory? Every weekend, millions of Americans do some sort of race, and pay lots of money for shirts, prizes, entertainment (because there has to be some sort of payout!) …and most people can only name one or two famous athletes (usually because they are embroiled in a cheating scandal.)

Why run?

To feel good? No, that’s the drugs your brain makes because your body is so very uncomfortable. That’s hurt until it feels good mentality. That’s what mystics do when they flog themselves. What did Jesus say about people who draw attention to their fasting [suffering]?

Why run?
Health? Running is one of the worst exercises for your feet, knees.

Running sucks.

What, you still want inspiration? How about the story of when your daughter first started walking. You were so proud. She, was so very full of joy. It was so difficult, and one day, she could do it. The world had so many more possibilities. She was so happy. She could take steps. Her parents seemed to be happy. But. Movement. Freedom. Challenge accepted & conquered! One step. Another step. Still standing. one step two step. Still standing. She wanted to move faster. This was great. StepStep, so fast, almost falling but step-step-step-step little legs moving little feet. Just like falling, but, because her feet could move fast, because she was running, she never hit the ground. Running is a controlled fall, she discovered. And she laughed and ran and ran and laughed, and didn’t want to stop. Ever.

We humans are a strange species. We compete over anything. But mostly, we compete with ourselves. We compete with that guy in the mirror, who’s like, “look, there are plenty of things going on right now, get organized, and then get a fresh start, and you can go running tomorrow.”

We compete with that guy in our heads who is always there reminding us, “your friends will still like you no matter what your time is for this race, they’re good people”  that guy who later reminds you “dude, you gave up easy. Can’t you push yourself? What’s your problem? Lack of character, that’s it! Soon, your friends will find out that you are undeserving.”

We compete against the laws of physics. Your tendons have a certain strength, (and it gets a little less every day after 40, amirite?), and there is nothing you can do to stop the relentless march of time, which crushes all things, which destroys all things, which forgets all things. We humans have imagination. What if? we wonder, and we plan, and we hope, and we strive to beat physics, to do what is not possible, to grasp for a moment the hint of a taste of the immortal. And we’ve seen it in others. And we want a piece of it ourselves. Some get it a time or two. Most never do, because gravity, it will bring you down.

Years ago I did a marathon. Once. Learned my lesson. It sucked. About 18 miles in, I bargained with my body, please let me finish, and I promise never again. And, up the hill, allegedly there were hula dancers to encourage us. Yes, thank goodness for hula dancers. Something to get my mind off the…WHAT???!!!??? FAT OLD MEN with grass skirts and coconut bras playing ukulele!!! I hated Portland, so, very, much. Kept going. Few miles left, I got passed by an old guy, passed by a dude running the race in a suit, a pregnant lady w/ a stroller went past. And there, ahead, in the middle of the road, was a young girl, waving, telling the runners “good job”, she gave me a hi-five and I started to cry. I hoped that one day I would have a daughter as awesome as that girl.  (Spoiler alert: I do.)

I have no regrets. It was a voluntary project, that I had to plan for, to work at, that needed dedication to finish. And it still sucked.
Remember what the USMC says: “Pain is just weakness leaving your body.”


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