Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Marathon Man

When I think of marathons, I usually think of races, but I was reminded recently that people also walk marathons. Within a few years of some major health issues, Dad began and finished the Duke City Marathon in Albuquerque, walking 5K, no small feat. Having been plagued by a nagging back problem myself, I know personally how easy it can be to find ready, easy excuses for not extending ourselves to find new limits, so I found this commitment on his part very impressive.

The dictionary defines ‘marathon’ as a noun meaning any long and arduous undertaking. I like the comparison of a marathon to life, which is also a long and arduous undertaking! I also like the distinction between how we experience our marathons, by walking or by running. I’ve learned we don’t need to live life at a dead-run, as though we have to finish fastest and first to succeed in life. When we choose to run through life pell-mell, so much is missed, so much is a blur, and in our rush we pass too much by because our focus is down the road.

On the other hand, when you walk there is time for noticing the surroundings, for good conversations, for meaningful contact with others, for holding hands. Not only does the pace allow time to speak but, more importantly, it allows time to listen. We all know walking is good for our health, but it’s good for our spirit, too. In the marathon of my life, my dad’s shown me there is grace and dignity in, not dashing, but walking through life. This slower steady pace requires the same commitment. And those who care the most about us know the sacrifice and cost for us to cross the finish line… and are proud.

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