The Optimistic Runner

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The Optimistic Runner

by Patrick Reed

If you have read many of my blog posts, you will know that I am supremely optimistic – not only in my running, but also with regards to the challenges of daily life. For I believe that “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Roman 8:28)

So, let’s take these two arenas – those of our running and of our everyday living – and parse them for a moment with the aim that you come to see that the challenges through which you persevere today are much more hopeful than otherwise.

Although today I sit on the sidelines, I know that a bright tomorrow awaits in my running life. And I know that in the warm week from this present cold moment, I will be back again to full-throttle running. Indeed, despite my love for running daily, I see this present setback as a necessary prelude to a shinier stride days and weeks from now. Armed with a trainer’s plan for how to move beyond my present setback, I – under Doctor’s orders - have a discipline which comes from another and says, “It’s okay to take this day off.” And so today, for me, being a runner means waiting with a hope for a brighter tomorrow, the light of which will show the travails of my present predicament to be vapid and pale in comparison. For, living on the edge sometimes means jogging or even sitting it out today. Though this lesson has been a difficult one for me to digest, I now know it to be true. For I am living it — and I am at peace. For I am armed with an optimism that promises a harvest purchased with today’s patient sowing.

And so I tell you, Reader, be patient in your running today. Listen to your body. And know that your dreamed-for running victories await you, just as you wait for your body to heal. Your best running days are ahead!

And now to this life outside of running. I began this post with scripture. Some may look amiss at such impudence:) – and some may not even recognize the quote. To the first I say, running is training the body – the physical body which we know to be finite and aging, marching its way to a certain finish line. But the soul — ah the Soul! — As the writer has said, “We have eternity in our hearts!” The soul is boundless, and this truth is self-evident. So, though we train today or wait out today in order to build up the house of the soul for a future conflict (i.e. Race-day!!), the truest passion for the running life emanates from an internal desire, a necessity, to give voice to the boundlessness of the soul it houses. We run – I argue – to express the joy of the soul’s being.

To the second type of reader, who has never heard the Apostle Paul’s words about God’s providence, I holler: “Read more today!” God’s hand is outstretched – and he offers you the brightest future!

To conclude this thought, I am reminded of a recent purchase of mine — from Costco. 3 pairs of reading glasses for $20. As a photographer, a year or so ago I noticed that one of my cameras, equipped with one of my go-to lenses, was not focusing right. A  few months later, I realized that my eyes – which have never plagued me a bit – were unable to focus upon the written page as I did my Bible study one afternoon. It was not my camera nor my lens, after all, but rather my eyes that were the issue. A quick trip to the optometrist earned me a prescription to set things straight. I headed over to Costco, donned the helpful glasses — and VOILA!! the world was aright. In a moment, I could see and I could see clearly. Optimism is like this. It is the new set of glasses which will help you to see your present circumstances clearly – and in a true sense. BUT — and this is the key caveat — the lens-crafter of your optimism must be true. Otherwise, you may only deceive yourself with good wishes and empty hopefulness. Our hope must be grounded in truth. 

So I ask you, what are your present circumstances? How dire is it really in your running and in your life outside of running? Can you see that you have reason for hope in both of these arenas? Hoping in your own ability will avail you little in the end and may indeed be a self-deception. But hoping in the source of hope itself, in the God of truth, this is a reality you can take to the bank. 

If you are not sure that God will turn your present pains into future gains, see today that His hand is outstretched.

As so I live in hope. And I run in hope.

How about you?

Best!

~Patrick

image credits: newlifeprisonchurch

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