Thin Line Between Insanity and Guts

You never know when you are about to go too far as a runner. I've been training hard all winter for the marathon, and about three weeks ago on a cold, blistery Saturday morning I decided to go for my customary long run. I knew it wasn't wise. The night before at the Winter Ball as I attempted to two-step around the dance floor I had felt some pain in my right achilles. But rather than realize that my body was trying to tell me it was heading for trouble, I ignored it and set out the door. As the drizzle turned to sleet, and the sleet to snow, my achilles starting hurting more and more. Somehow I survived 14 miles, only to not be able to walk for the next day or two.

It's hard as a runner to know when you are crossing that line between being tough and having guts, or doing something insanely stupid. We are, by nature, a little crazy. We are trained to ignore pain and go beyond our limits on a fairly regular basis. So while I knew it wasn't a great idea that morning to run 14 miles, I went for it anyways because I needed to get my mileage in.

Problem is, decisions like that have consequences. After a few days rest I was back on my feet and running. But now that same achilles problem has reared its head and I've had to take another week off from training. Even two miles on Thursday was enough to make me hobble the remainder of the evening. So my training is on hold. That's part of it, I suppose, but maybe in the future I'll learn that sometimes working through pain is more insane than gutsy. Then again, maybe not.


Safe People

I've been reading a book. It's called: Safe People: How to Find Relationships that are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't. I'll state for the record that I'm not a big fan of "self-help" books, especially of the Christian flavor. But I've read a book by these two guys before and really liked them, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

One of my biggest personality flaws is that I'm extremely trusting and naive. I believe in the good of all people, especially Christians. I am ok with the fact that people who don't have a belief in God might hurt or deceive me, but I can't fathom someone that knows God would ever be hurtful.

So I started reading the book to see if my relationships were safe. Along the way though, as so often is the case, I realized that I was full of flaws myself. That I am not even close to being a consistently safe person. That it is time I work on myself to become a more safe and reliable friend then I've been recently.

Some things to look for in a safe person are that they help you to grow. They are constantly pushing you to extend yourself in new ways, and you are pushing them as well (no relationship should be one-sided). They also aren't critical (one of my flaws), yet can lovingly rebuke you when needed. They can be counted on, and trusted upon. If they've done something to hurt you, and you tell them, then they change instead of act defensive.

I'm glad I have friends like that.

P.S. This blog was supposed to be about spring and running in the winter! Ahhhh how a few pages in a book will change my mind.


Jacob’s Well

Jacob's Well is probably my favorite church in the whole world. I've never been to it, mind you, but that has not stopped me from being in love with it. Next time I'm in Kansas City I fully intend to go and visit. So why am I so in love with a place I've never visited, much less seen? Well mainly it is because each Sunday night I listen to the latest sermon, and it is easily the most dynamic and meaningful message I will hear all week. And trust me, I hear several messages a week since I fall asleep to one of three preachers each night (Patrick Mead, Charles Swindall, and the Jacob's Well preacher of the week).

The last two lessons have been extremely meaningful for me. They have been about repentance and forgiveness. If you have time this week, I strongly urge you to listen to these two messages. They are by far the best messages I have ever heard on the subject, and have made me really think about how I view my relationships. It also helps me to realize more about repentance and forgiveness. Never did I realize the order that forgiveness actually occurs in as instructed by Jesus in Luke 17:3 . The verse reads, "So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him." We must first point out sin, and if that person ceases from that sin, we are called to forgive. The hard part though is that we must "rebuke" that individual. We can't merely forgive them by never saying anything, we must actually confront the issue. Forgiveness is not just letting go, but actually dealing with the hurtful/sinful situation.

One of the things I realized is that over the last year or two I have become less willing to be vulnerable. I am more likely to not open up, more like to not place myself in uncomfortable situations, and hardly ever do I confront tough issues with people. As a result I think I've seen my friendships grow more and more shallow, and all new friendships have remained fairly superficial. So I want to work on that. Problem is, vulnerability is scary. But deeper, meaningful relationships are worth it.

If you have time – please listen. You'll be all the better for it.


Test: Publish with Word 2007

So in theory, this post should automatically go to my site through Word. If so, that is way crazy cool. Did I ever mention I love Microsoft?


Eats, Shoots and Leaves

I was recently chastised on my last post for my poor, lacking grammar. I admit, I struggle with good grammar. I had the misfortune of being placed in English honors classes in high school. While I was an exceptional reader and could do great on tests over books and vocabulary, the teachers somehow thought that if you were in honors English you've mastered every grammatical rule possible. Thus I never received another day of training in the matter, and my focus was placed on more important issues like iambic pentameter. Blah.

But I really do love grammar! And apparently I love the Oxford comma. The Oxford comma is that little comma that separates the second-to-last item in a list from the last item. An example is as follows: I like cheese, cookies, and cake. However, as we all learned in high school we could rebel against those eccentric ivory-tower snobs and abolish this comma once and for all and state with pride that I like cheese, cookies and cake. What a liberating day that was.

Take whichever side you like, that's not the reason I'm writing this post. The reason is because I found this great book called Eats, Shoots and Leaves which is about one woman's struggle to fight the terrible grammar that is abundant in our present day society. Look at your last text message, IM, or even email and see if you're not guilty! (There I go again with that Oxford comma)

I think I am in love with this lady. Here is a woman who feels very passionately about the need for better punctuation and grammar. Here is the first page from the introduction:

Either this will ring bells for you, or it won't. A printed banner has appeared on the concourse of a petrol station near to where I live. "Come inside," it says, "for CD's, VIDEO's, DVD's, and BOOK's."

If this satanic sprinkling of redundant apostrophes causes no little gasp of horror or quickening of the pulse, you should probably put down this book at once. By all means congratulate yourself that you are not a pedant or even a stickler; that you are happily equipped to live in a world of plummeting punctuation standards; but just don't bother to go any further. For any true stickler, you see, the sight of the plural word "Book's" with an apostrophe in it will trigger a ghastly private emotional process similar to the stages of bereavement, though greatly accelerated. First there is shock. Within seconds, shock gives way to disbelief, disbelief to pain, and pain to anger. Finally (and this is where the analogy breaks down), anger gives way to a righteous urge to perpetrate an act of criminal damage with the aid of a permanent marker."

Isn't this lady great? I am just thankful that there are people that nerdy in this world. Now I, by no means, am near as passionate on the matter. Indeed, you will find several mistakes in this post if you look, I'm sure. But I do like her call for us to be more concerned with how we use words and language. I, for one, intend to start throwing more commas into my sentences. Perhaps even an Oxford comma!