I run because it’s good for me. It’s physically good for me. But I’m also convinced that finding joy in doing something difficult, for long periods of time is good practice for being alive. Hebrews uses the same analogy: “Run with endurance the race set before you…”
A few months ago I ran my first marathon, but my favorite memory from that day is not the finish line; It’s the group of friends who joined me for lunch afterward. It’s finding people who wanted to share the joy with me.
See, I left lunch that day and went to the hospital where I prayed with my friend David for the last time before he passed away, surrounded by his family. And something like that rearranges your priorities. The people became far more important to me than the achievement.
Eight days ago, Hilary gave birth to our daughter Margot. Her life began, and so did my life as a father. So did Hilary’s life as a mother. We’ve started running a race together, and I pray for the strength and endurance to run well.
Monday, the bombing at the Boston Marathon made me start asking what kind of course we were running on. Yes, it is one with acts of senseless violence, but it is also one where people rush to help those in need. Some people act out of fear and anger, but others with courage and compassion.
Today, I was out for a run and listening to the interfaith memorial on the radio when I was reminded of this: (paraphrasing one of the speakers) The grace and light revealed in the reaction to Monday’s violence far outshined the darkness that caused it.
I pray for those who have been affected directly – those who are beginning a new life without someone they love, or who are beginning a life with new challenges. I pray for courage, for grace, for light and for love. I pray they will see joy again and I pray they will have people to celebrate with them.
I pray for God’s help to run in such a way that I am a source of light instead of darkness. It may be difficult, and it may take a long time. But I pray I’m ready for that.