Have you heard of the Iron Man Triathlon?
Yeah, those crazy people that swim a few miles, then bike 112 miles, and then run a marathon.
Nothing less than insanity.
And my bother-in-law completed it this weekend.
We went down to Wilmington to cheer him on a few days ago. I couldn't even believe he entered the race. He only started training for it a few months ago. We were there when he finished his bike ride, got off the bike, and started the marathon. It was amazing to see him, and all the others that were competing. I mean, my legs and feet hurt when I've been shopping too long, for heaven's sake.
There were men there that must have been in their early 70's. I watched as they finished their 112 mile ride and started running. I don't know how they managed to not collapse right there. But they just kept on going.
No one forced them to keep going, they chose it. And what an inconceivable choice - at least to me. They knew that 26 miles were still ahead of them, and they didn't have to finish.
But there were hundreds of people cheering them on. And for most, there were probably a few special people there cheering just for them. As supporters, we couldn't run for them. We couldn't pick them up and carry them - they had to do it alone.
Seeing this race really moved me, and I've been thinking about it for the past few days. It's such an amazing lesson in endurance, and determination. So much like life..........
No one can run our race for us. Sometimes the path takes us places we'd rather not go, and the road ahead is still so very, very long. We don't know exactly what's ahead, but God does. He knows we should finish. Sometimes we choose to stay put, because we can't fathom going on another mile. And then we hear our faithful friends and family, our "supporters," cheering us on. I can't imagine competing in an Iron Man without anyone supporting me and cheering for me any more than I can imagine running the race of life without faithful, godly friends and loved ones by my side.
How determined are you to run your race well? To hear "well done!" when you finish?
The more time goes on, the more I realize that my race takes purposeful training. Sometimes it hurts to take an inventory of exactly what my "training" consists of. Shopping, reading, talking on the phone, reading blogs, browsing the internet......... ok in small amounts, but not really getting me the results I want. I'm not going to turn into a woman of grace, perserverance and wisdom all of a sudden.
Sometimes it seems as if I'll never finish - never become that woman I want to be, never make it through the desert spell. I'm sure my brother-in-law must have felt a lot of those same feelings during those 12 imcomprehensible hours.
But he did. And I will. It's His plan for me - and I know it's a great one.