Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back to running

So I've got back to running in the past couple of weeks. Out of advice from my doctor I took a rest for a while because an x-ray showed a crack in my knee cap. It was a good news/bad news type of statement. The good news, "Surgery isn't necessary and after some rest it shouldn't effect your running and biking." The bad news, "Your knee will always hurt."

I have some great goals over the next couple of years for my new found past time. I'm not ready/bold enough to make those public yet. Right now I'm just happy to be able to get out on the road (I plan to graduate to trails soon too). For me a nice long run allows me plenty of time to think, reflect and release. Two years ago when I ran my first (and only) marathon it was one of the proudest moments of my life. In a car 26.2 miles doesn't seem too far but on foot it can be like the oasis you see in the distance of the desert. If there is one thing I've learned in my short life span it's that nothing worth having comes easily. A completed marathon takes hard work, dedication, and as many people have told me, "A little bit of craziness." But the feeling of accomplishment afterward is unfathomable.

This year I plan to compete in my first full distance triathlon. I've never possessed a great ability to swim so I have to admit I'm slightly nervous about that part. I completed a couple sprint distance races last year but they only had a 1/4 of a mile swim. I basically panic swam through those, I'm not sure I can do that for a full mile. Luckily I have a wife who is a great swimmer and I'm relatively certain she will guide me through it. Any advice you may have will be welcomed also.

I'm not sure what it is harder, the training for these races or a 3 hour wrestling practice both can make you want to lay down a die. However, just as when I won the region championship my senior year in wrestling, finishing a long run within your goal time makes you feel like you can do anything. So as the song goes "I can't wait to get on the road again, going place I've never been."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Now that I have everyone singing I will be cliche and finish by saying, "If you try sometimes you'll get what you need." Jessica and I went to a new church this past Sunday. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. The minister was wonderful and his message was superb.

Just a side note. Reed also had a life changing experience. (Can you have one of those at 14 months old?) We dropped him off at the nursery and he never looked back. I think I actually heard him say, "New kids, new toys, c-ya mom and dad." Little did he know that in just a few short moments he would be whisked outside in his first ever fire evacuation. Turns out it was a false alarm but none the less all the kids were moved to a new location. However, the mass hysteria that I'm sure ensued didn't seem to bother Reed. When we went to get him he was happy and wanted to stay with the little girl he was playing with instead of coming with us.

Anyway, back to my point. Sometimes it seems that God will actually pick you up and sit you back down right where he wants you to be. The minister started the sermon with a joke about a marriage not being about getting the love you want but wanting the love you get. It was one of those opening lines that slaps you in the face and says, "Perk up -- something good is coming."

The sermon was based on Philippians 2: 1 - 11. In this passage the focus was more on verses 6 - 8 which speaking of Jesus reads:

"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!" (NIV)

Paul was explaining to the Philippians that before his days on earth Christ enjoyed complete equality with the Father yet he laid that aside and came to Earth. Knowing he would be persecuted, beaten and crucified, he still gave up his glory and took our place on the cross. Jesus humbled himself so that we may be glorified.

As some of you know, the current economic situation has directly impacted Jessica and I. Jessica was laid off at the end of November and because of that we had to rethink a number of our expenses. Actually something we should have already done anyway. Some things we were really excited about getting to do we now cannot. A little budgeting has never hurt anyone and that is all we really have had to do. I'll confess though -- until hearing that message my own bitterness has kept my stress level high. Fortunately, Jessica has taken a higher road on the positive side. Ironically the one of us that should have been bitter has kept us sailing by stepping into the role of "wanting what we get" instead of "getting what we want." The sermon though showed me that we have to approach these tough times that way. It couldn't have come at the right time because this week has been full of bad news at my work. On Tuesday we started the day with an e-mail notifying us that my company would not be giving raises this year and they would be cutting 1,100 jobs. Then just today one of my co-workers became victim to this cut back. Luckily it wasn't me but without this message I'm not sure my stress level could have handled it.

What I do know is that I have a loving, hard working wife, a wonderful rambunctious little boy and a sweet little baby girl on the way. We have a roof over our head, heat to keep us warm and food to keep us nourished. All things that not only do I need but I definitely want.

Later in the passage I mentioned above we are explicitly charged with confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord because he earned that respect through his humility. Inexplicably, Paul is telling us to humble ourselves just as Jesus did. If we do, we may not get what we want but if we try sometimes God will make sure we get what we need.