God’s Many Faces

originally written November 04, 2001

Yesterday, I did my longest run in preparation for the marathon.  I got up at 3 a.m. and began running at 4 a.m. with my faithful companion, Mikayla (our black lab mix).  I had hidden water bottles along my 23-mile route every 2 1/2 miles the day before.  On these longer runs, I take ibuprofen, run/jog very slowly, and take walking breaks.  Yet, I still have leg pain, and it is very tough for me, psychologically, to stick to the training goals I have set for myself.

At various times during my multi-hour runs, I call upon my family for help.  When I start to lose my running form because of the pain, I visualize Skye’s perfect form — how she floats over the ground, barely raising her feet in forward movement; and I try to emulate her.  When the miles ahead seem endless, I try to become K.J. — simply following the rules, not worrying about the future, quietly persisting.  When I really hurt and want to quit, I think of Emily’s temper, her fire.  I tell myself, “Damn it!  I can do this!”  When I am sad and feel like crying, I imagine Journey’s warm hugs, her reassuring pat-pat-pat on my back.  When I begin to feel like a failure, I recall John’s words:  “I believe in you.  You are a winner whether you run all the miles you set out to run or not.”

Yesterday, while I was running, it occurred to me that my family represents some of the faces of God — a God who is always with me.  God gives me this body, with its limitations and possibilities, to learn and to choose to use in healthy, productive ways.  God gives me the ability to live in the moment, to work without ceasing in the here-and-now, despite what might lie ahead.  God gives me the passion to face, and sometimes to overcome, life’s hardships.  God comforts me when I am sad and hurting.  God believes in me regardless of my success or lack of success in secular terms.

I may not finish the marathon.  But if I do, I will only finish it with God’s help and my familial mirrors of some of God’s many faces.

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