The Long Haul

Maggie and Bette finish the Mom’s Day 5 K

If you’ve been following me lately, you know that I’ve been trying to teach myself to run. It isn’t easy getting a hippopotamus moving! I’ve been stuck at about 2.5 miles. I can do that without too much trouble. Once a week, I run 3.68 miles. I’m trying here, people. Really trying!

This week, I thought I’d switch it up — my run that is. I did the shorter distance in a backwards loop. What I hadn’t planned on, and what nearly killed me, was that this new arrangement put my longest most difficult hill at the very END of my run.

I wasn’t even half way up the hill before I regretted my choice. Gasping for air, stumbling up the hill, I vowed that I would never do it that way again.

The whole event got me to thinking. You see, I know lots of folks who are — in terms of their lives — running their last hills. One is caring for his wife who no longer recognizes him. Another is coping with a series of tiny strokes, each one taking away her independence, tiny bit by tiny bit. Someone I love dearly is battling a new and critical cancer diagnosis. Unless God intervenes in a most miraculous way, this may be her last hill.

It occurs to me that in life, our toughest hills, the longest, steepest climbs often come at the end of our lives. When some might feel we’ve earned a rest. When we might think we’ve found our “pace.” When all we want to do is move on to our home in heaven, we may suddenly find ourselves struggling for breath as we put one heavy foot in front of the other. Just as we think we’ve crested the worst of it, the hill turns upward again.

And  that makes me think about training.

You see, the only thing that will ever help me conquer that hill is training. I prepare for that hill by running other smaller hills — frequently, faithfully, dutifully, deliberately. I must work up to that big hill at the end of my run. I can’t expect to sit around my family room watching television in order to prepare for that monstrous hill. Instead, I must train for it.

I wonder if much of life is God’s way of preparing us for that last hill?

Are we dutiful? Diligent? Purposeful? Are we growing the faithfulness and grace that will see us through to the end of our earthly race? Maybe I should be thinking about my spiritual race with the same determination and training that I apply to my weekly run schedule?

What do you think?


4 Responses to “The Long Haul”

  1. Lynetta Says:

    Very well said! Dutiful, diligent and purposeful aren’t always words I use to describe my spiritual race but they should be.

    • Bette Nordberg Says:

      I just read Jeremiah, where the Lord said to J, “If you can’t run on the flat land, how will you run in the bull rushes.” It made me think. God was training Jeremiah to run bigger and tougher hills. I’m a little like you. Funny how I can be diligent in my physical training, and so sloppy in my spiritual walk!

  2. Duane J. YOUNG Says:

    A lack of oxygen to our spiritual self as we climb life’s hills certain would send us to the emergency room trusting in God’s mercy and healing. Why wait? Breath deeply today.

    • Bette Nordberg Says:

      So true, DJ. There is always Mercy and Healing and Grace! He is there when we need him, now and in the future. Yet, we balance His working in and for us with our own striving to move forward (as in prayer, and Bible reading, and yes, even mission statements!). What a difficult balance it is to strike! Like Jeremiah, we have to learn to run on the flat lands before we can run in the bull rushes!

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