These past two weeks I found myself thinking a lot about two things: marriage and running. Now you might first wonder why – and then ask what the one has to do with the other! But somehow I found that they make an interesting comparison.
Why marriage? Two weeks ago I went to Gemany to go to the wedding of two friends. It was a great weekend, a beautiful celebration full of joy and an opportunity to see lots of friends again. I felt a little sentimental seeing my friend Rahel get married. We had met in Bible college and later moved to Freiburg together and shared a flat for two years with another friend, Leo. It was by far the coolest flat in Freiburg =) Lots of good memories. Times of laughter…craziness…prayer…tears. And now she was looking so gorgeous, all grown up, with a beautiful smile on her face and walking down the aisle! I’m so glad I could be there for the special start to this new chapter in her and Matthias’ lives!
Why running? Next Sunday I plan to participate in the Rock ‘n Roll Half-Marathon here in Madrid! I’ve been doing a lot of sports this past half year in Madrid and started training more or less for real a few months ago. But then I also had some trouble with my knees and my right foot…I started getting worried and wondered if I would even be able to do regular sport anymore. I went to the doctor and got special soles for my shoes but still had trouble. I also asked friends from my church to pray for me – we had been seeing people get healed in the streets and I wanted to believe God could heal me too, but it didn’t go away completely. So I wasn’t running that much anymore – and the date of the marathon was coming closer! So the Sunday before last was a beautiful sunny day and in the afternoon I decided to go out for a ride with my bike. But then I felt like no – I NEED to go for a run! I was a bit scared, thinking I would surely not be able to run very much…but felt like I should try to run a longer distance than normal. My half-marathon would be about 21km so I tried to think of a decent route where I would come close to that distance and remembered someone suggesting I run to my University to train…it was such a crazy idea – I liked it! I looked it up on google and figured I would just run my bike route. I didn’t really intend to run all the way – I had eaten random food that day, didn’t stretch or warm up, put on ¾ jeans, T-shirt and a sweater and just figured I’d start running and see where I ended up.
It was a sweet run. The first half hour I always find the hardest – and more so on a Sunday afternoon with lots of people on the pavement and all those traffic lights making me stop every few hundred meters…but after about forty minutes I was content to be running and when I reached the Cuatro Torres just as the sun was setting…I figured I might as well keep running. So I kept running and passed through the little town of Fuencarral and thought to myself – if I’ve been crazy enough to run til Fuencarral I might as well run to my university! So I kept running.
And this was when it hit me – I was running and I was feeling JUST FINE! I had no pain whatsoever in my knees or feet! I began to run faster and just laughed and praised God as I ran, feeling so happy and loving the moment! God is so good!
I arrived at my campus after two hours and three minutes. Suppose if I subtract the times I waited for a traffic light or stopped for a drink at a water fountain I would improve my time…but in the end I didn’t care so much about the minutes. I had arrived!
And that’s what got me thinking – in the end running has a lot to do with commitment. And so does marriage. It’s about making the conscious decision to go all the way. To not give up, to not change goals. I think in our society there’s often a lack of commitment. And I understand that – I mean, its scary! Its serious! I was scared when I thought of having to run 21km and didn’t really think I could…in the same way you might be scared to think of taking marriage seriously – as a life long commitment! Can I do that? Wont I get tired after 7 years – just like I might get tired after 7km? Well people always say that long distance running is a mind thing – and I think that goes for marriage too. If a marathon runner keeps having to ask himself if he will continue or not – I doubt he will reach the finish line. So once you decide to run the marathon – don’t go back on that decision. There will be difficulties for sure – like thirst, muscle cramps, whatever…but keep the goal in mind and don’t quit. RUN! And like I found with my run – its God who gives me the capacity for everything! If you build your relationship, your marriage on God as foundation with the love of Jesus Christ as your example – striving to honour HIM and maintaining love, respect, humility, honesty, forgiveness, patience – HE will help you carry through! May God bless all you couples out there, especially if you’re passing through tough times, and renew your love and strength!!! And blessings to all fellow runners too =)