How You Run the Race

Had my fifth kidney stone recently. Painful may be too merciful a description. I've written about the nasty little boogers previously.

This one hung on longer than any predecessors. Five days. It was either delusions from pain or delusions from pain meds. At least I had an excuse for my delusions. Those five days.

It took five days for that stone to move one inch. I'm no longer using, "Slower than molasses in January." My now ultimate slowness quip is, "Slower than a kidney stone in a preacher."

With the dawning of day five, however, I was just tired of it. Nasty little booger wouldn't move an inch. So I made a decision that morning. No matter the pain. No matter the drag of the pain meds. I was going to choose to have a good attitude that day. I was going to be an overcomer even as I was feeling beaten. I was going to be focused even though I was wrung out tired.

Not being able to run while on the ropes with a stone, my thoughts turned to running. Running marathons. Brutal self-torture as my wife sees it. And then a thought came to this mid-pack marathoner, kidney stone sufferer, everyday philosopher's mind: It's not where you finish; it's how you run the race.

What about you, Dear Reader?

What are you dealing with right now that you wish was just flat done over? 

What are your greatest challenges? To your strength? Your perseverance? Your grace? Your faith?

An illness. A person. Your past. Your future. You name it.

And then you choose. Choose to run the race differently.

You still may finish mid-pack or back. Your finish may even come before the finish line.

It's not where you finish. It's how you run the race.

My five day stone got the message. Within hours of that decision. It passed. The pain was gone. And this stone prone preacher boy had learned a lesson.

It's how you run the race.

I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. My friends, I don't feel I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. Philippians 3:12-14, CEV

And all God's people - with all our struggles - said, "Amen."

Run on, Dear Reader.

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Uphill Downhill

We live up the hill.  One of the highest spots in Lincoln.  In hillier than you'd think Eastern Nebraska

That's caused me to think: For every hill you go down there is one to go up.

Recently my Dadometer indicated the oldest needed some time alone & it was the perfect evening for a bike ride.

Tearing out ahead of me he shouted, "I'm gonna beat you, Daddy." Here & there around the neighborhood streets we went.  Then we left the pavement behind.  Downhill into the tree farm on dirt paths we plunged.  My boy was loving it.  "Wooo-oo-oo-ooo," he exalted in bumpy path vibrato.

Turning uphill I led reminding him we could enjoy the view from the top.  Yet halfway up I heard it.  Words indistinguishable.  Tone clear.  Complaining about the hill.  My boy stopped.

Back downhill we went.  His smile returned.  We pedaled toward another adventurous off-road spot.  His tone changed exuberant.  He hollered, "This is fun!"  Reaching the creek bottom, we rested a bit in the cool.

Then uphill we went.  And, again, his tone changed.  I began to instruct: it is harder going uphill; we shift gears; keep pedaling; accept slower forward progress; but we keep going; we get there.

When we reached to top of Captain Underpants Hill - yes, thats the name my kids have given a statue on a hill nearby our home - we stopped again.  This time we needed a little lesson.  Son & Father both had something to learn.

"Buddy you were having so much fun a few minutes ago.  What changed?"

"The hill.  I don't like the hill."

"I know it's hard to go up hills, but you made it up.  You're here."


"You gotta go uphill before you can go downhill, Buddy.  Life is like that."

In a split second I'm thinking to myself, "Remember this the next time you are struggling with something, Mister Daddy Man.  If you are gonna enjoy the downhill, you gotta work the uphill."

Life doesn't come equipped with ski lifts.  Elevators or escalators either.  Life does take plenty of work.