Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Running Home Published 10.17.09

Recently I lost a dear friend and high school classmate to cancer.

Since Jim was a world-class runner, I often think about him while running.

The day after his funeral, I decided to go for a run but dreaded it because I hadn’t run in more than a week and knew it would be difficult.

I started strong, but with each mile it grew more difficult to understand how Jim or any human could endure an ultra marathon, 50 miles.

At mile 5 I was enjoying all the beauty around me, but by mile 8, I doubted I could finish. By mile 9, I was gasping, my gait slowed to a limp, and my hips hurt so badly I wanted to cry. I just kept thinking, “Go to the next telephone pole. Make it to the next mailbox.”

At dusk, the scenery grew dim, but I saw the lights of my house in the distance. I became completely focused on getting home: seeing my family, resting and being refreshed. Nothing else compared to this end—no chirping birds, no red and gold leaves, no fitness goals. Home meant everything.

At the last mile, I thought of several friends who passed recently. All fought diseases that wore them down with each passing week or month much as the miles were taking their toll on me.

For so long, they relished their journeys and were not ready to head home. I wondered if there came a time when everything around them, while still lovely, began to dim as the lights of “home” became brighter.

Parting from people we love is sad, but the sadder thing is to be in a race with no goal in mind. Merely to run and run and run through life stopping only for one novelty after another is very tiresome.

I know some don’t believe we can have an assurance of a “home” at the end of our lives. I couldn’t see my house at mile 8, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t there.

CS Lewis said: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

Faith in Christ isn’t “pie in the sky.” It challenges you to find meaning in suffering and death and prompts your spirit to admit, “This is hard truth” when truth must be faced, whether or not it’s politically correct or raises even more questions, such as, “Why Jim?”

As I grieve, I remind myself that Jim was not ultimately made for this life, beautiful as his life was with his family. He fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith (2 Tim. 4:7).

So now, at the end of each run when I re-live the joy of returning home, I take a second to think about Jim, who is really home, and that brings me an even deeper joy.

11 comments:

  1. OH, Linda... This was amazing. "I couldn't see my house at mile 8, but that didn't mean it wasn't there." Thank you!!
    Love, Angie xoxo

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  2. What a beautiful tribute to a dear friend! I am sorry for your loss. Your words about knowing that "home" is there, even if it cannot be seen, are very touching and a wonderful reminder for us all.

    Amazing post!

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  3. this was beautiful and I felt every word....this is how I feel about my aunt..she is really home!

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  4. That was beautiful and so very true. Amazing insight Lid and I pray for you today that His Peace continues through you and your eyes stay on Home.
    Chel

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  5. Beautiful! I love the way you write, Linda.

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  6. Nice writing here. It made me think of my friend, Gregg, lost to cancer suddenly- also. Thanks for writing this, very good.

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  7. wow...this was a wonderful post for me to read. I lost one of my best friends back in 2002 to colon cancer..she left behind a husband of only 7 years and a little boy of 4 yrs old.....this really blessed me. I am so thankful that my dear friend Christine is in heaven with our REDEEMER!!! she is safely home......

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  8. Oh Lid...this was breath takenly beautiful...not just your words (which were lovely and poignant) but the truth laced throughout the tribute.

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  9. "...completely focused...nothing else compared to this end....." I love your words! Nothing else compares to being home with God---now that should give us all hope...and be our focus too! It sure is a comfort in those heart places touched by grief. Thank you Linda.

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Thanks for the thoughts.

 
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