It’s so hard to know where to begin in a humble attempt to recap this magnificent weekend with my husband. I found myself making an assertive effort all weekend to “document” so that I could remember. I wanted to remember ALL that my senses could take in for a few reasons.
1. My memory seems so fleeting more times than I care to note…. where was I?
2. Even more than my insatiable need to soak in all the details of my children’s thoughts by asking a myriad of questions, I desire to share with them the details of all that God shows me when they ask questions of their own. Therefore, documentation.
3. I want to remember years from now. I want to recall the hard, because within the hard, there is God. When I recall, His faithfulness unfolds in my mind just as the moment it happened.
So. Friday morning, we wake, enter our usual weekday routine, yet add one more task: load the car with extra stuff. We gave extra hugs, extra kisses, extra instructions (only a few extra times), dropped the kiddos off at school, and headed for the freeway.
6 hours. Seems like a long time to be in a car. It honestly felt like 2.
I have truly enjoyed this stage of marriage. There is such peace in simply being in the presence of one another, without the need for words. We’d listen to country music… a lot. We’d share about funny tweets (only me, he was driving). We’d joke about the way
he we always end up on an unplanned road at some point during our trip. We’d recognize little blessings (due to said detour, a Chick-Fil-A could be located right off the freeway – score!). We’d talk deeply, we’d talk lightly. We didn’t talk at all. Sheer bliss. Sometimes we don’t realize just how much we need something until it is placed right in our laps.
And… before we knew it… Nashville’s unmistakable skyline came into view. For the third year in a row, we found ourselves in the same parking garage, headed to the same convention center to pick up a similar race packet, and to meet the same dear friends. We walked down Broadway, took in all the sights and sounds of the Honky-Tonks, had some dinner on the patio, and headed to our hotel to get to bed early.
4:30 am our alarm went off.
5:00 we headed downtown.
6:00 we parked and stood in line for a shuttle.
6:45 we arrived at the starting line
As we walked to our corral, we saw a sign.
Here we go.
The next name I heard echoed was my own.
35,000 people there, and right behind us, in this sea of runners were our friends.
I’m not making this up.
We listened to the National Anthem. I snapped a few videos with my beloved iPhone. We turned on our tunes, and off we went.
The first 2 miles of this race are great. You head downhill for the most part, crowds are large, sights are fun, it’s the celebration of it all. And then, you turn the corner, and it’s uphill, uphill, and uphill. Now, having already stated that this is our third go-round on this course, one would think I would remember this, but no, I don’t. Maybe it’s a little bit like labor. Anywho, the hill part leaves you with one word – humbled. It takes your breath, brings muscle fatigue, and kicks you out of any type of rhythm you were hoping to hold onto. In a nutshell, you come face-to-face with your human limitations.
Then, the mind games kick in. You realize how short of a distance you’ve thus traveled, and how much further you still have yet to go. You try not to panic, for as you know in training, panic does you no good. So, you do your best to distract yourself. You look around at the people, the signs, you focus on the next water stop, you try to get lost in a song. Some attempts work, others leave you muttering, “Nice try”.
Yet, somehow, onward you press. The sun was warm, fluids were in dire need of being replaced, people around were either walking or passing you, yet somehow our bodies kept stepping. Somewhere in the midst of all the sweat and the insanity of how you got yourself here, a peace remained. Somehow I knew that I knew that I would finish. Somehow I knew that one more step would eventually lead me to the place where I wanted so desperately to be, at the finish line. And somehow is mattered. It mattered that I not only finished, but that I ran the race well.
Not for a medal, though they are favorite markers of remembrance.
Not for man’s approval, but for my Lord’s. He matters, so this matters.
I have realized that my pain is temporary, but how I responded in the hard would make a difference in the”after”.
In calling out my irrefutable weakness, His strength was acknowledged.
I did finish. His unfailing strength, with grace I do not deserve, had me finish well. My goal was to squeak in under 2 hours. He gave me the gift of 1:58:18. His blessings, through obedience, never fail.
The rest of the weekend was simply more showering of blessings. A little rest, a little food, some great company surrounded by friendships that only come from a bond through unity in Christ. We received hospitality, fellowship, and time in abundance.
Aaron, I look forward to doing this again in 5 days! Some may call us crazy, I consider myself pretty darn lucky. Thanks for “hangin in” with me in life’s adventures. May we have many more!
Feel free to hop over and read Aaron’s take. He has such a way with words…