Here is an interesting fact I learned recently in my Western Culture class; do you know where the name ‘marathon’ originated? During the Persian invasion of Greece, a man named Phidippides (fi-DIP-i-deez), was the messenger who ran the 22 plus miles from a town called Marathon to Athens, to tell of the Greek victory over the Persians. (Rawls, 2018)

Since becoming a runner about nine years ago, it has never been my goal to run a marathon. The longest race I have completed was a 10K (6.2 mi.) and the longest run on my own has been 7 miles.  These days I do about 2-3 miles each day.

My main goal is to run for my health not to harm it. For me, that is what I would be doing if I trained for a marathon. Finding out I have the first stages of osteoporosis and that running is good for my bones only added to the many beneficial reasons for continuing this sport. I enjoy running and spending that time with God. I do not want to turn it into something I dread. I have learned to listen to my body and give it a day of rest when it needs it; that helps my muscles recover and I feel the difference the next time I run. Besides, this is where a lot of these messages come from…my time with God in nature. I have the time to process, pray and receive. God teaches me a lot, but I realize it is not just for me, so I share it with others in hopes it blesses them as well.

However, when I think about the things God is preparing us for it reminds me that the opposite is true. It is in God’s timing. Most of the time He must remind us it is a marathon, not a sprint. We can celebrate the milestones along the way, remember to take breaks, rest, and enjoy the beauty of the journey. We may not know the end goal of our trainings, but God does. We can slow our pace and take one day at a time.

Our experiences and lessons along the way can be used to help others. Sometimes, we think we know where we are headed only to be shifted in a completely new direction and focus. If we are staying our course, with God as the leader, we can rest assured we will get wherever we are going at just the right time. We should not settle on anything less. It may take a little longer but that is the nature of the marathon. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 NLT)

Love Thy Neighbor

Early in the mornings as most of you know I can be found circling my block. Running is my jam. It gives me the energy to get through my day and I use the time to pray, process and be thankful.

Sometimes I see a family waiting for the wheels bus to pick up a couple of people, on the other side of the block. One of which is in a wheelchair. I think she is new to the household as I don’t remember seeing her until recently. My neighbor is a caregiver for the mentally challenged. What a sweet blessing.

This girl was very friendly and speaks to me each time I pass by. The first couple of times were a simple, “Hi.”  The third time was, “Hi again!” Always in high spirits. This particular morning the bus must have been running late as she was still there on my fourth round, when I heard, “I love you!”

Wow, how sweet is that?! She barely knows me, yet she loves me. Isn’t this how we are all supposed to be? I believe that is what God meant when he instructed us to love our neighbor. We should all be so kind with unconditional love of our neighbor. Even when we don’t know them. (And sometimes even more if we do.)

God knows everything about us, yet He loves us anyway. What a miraculous blessing to have a good Father who sees us through the lens of love with unmeasurable grace. Let’s share that kind of love and grace with others, especially our neighbors.

Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39