“being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
I remember in 1996 my best friend, John Case and I, chose to run the All-Army Ten Mile race in Washington DC. We had not been regularly running or training for quite a few years. Yeah, we ran in the army sometimes, but being a supply clerks, we didn’t have to do physical training everyday. We were in decent shape. The real issue was, we had never run a race of this length; ten miles. I had done a couple five mile races a few years prior, but never a ten mile race. John had never run over 5 miles in his lifetime. We were in un-tested territory. John and myself drove to Washington DC from Ft Bragg, NC the Friday before the race. We actually slept in our car in the parking lot of the Pentagon, where the race was to start, on Friday night. Do not try that today, this was pre-9-11. We woke up, ate a breakfast bar, and got into the race. Everything was going pretty good until around mile seven. I stepped on a traffic cone and twisted my ankle pretty good. I had to run the last three miles with a bum ankle. At this point I had a choice to make: quit or endure. Do I just drop out and say, “at least I tried” or do I endure knowing that we spent the night in a car and drove all the way to Washington DC to finish the race?
The one part of this adventure that I didn’t tell you about is that my best friend, my battle buddy, my guy, John Case was with me throughout this adventure. John ran with me for the first 7 miles of the race. All the while encouraging me to go faster. He would tell me, “you got this man” or “you can do it”. John had never run that far in his life. He knew I was the better runner but wanted to make sure I finished strong. If it weren’t for the encouragement and challenge that John gave me as my partner, I feel I would have dropped out of the race. I ended up running that ten mile race, still my only ten mile race to this day, in 56 minutes. John pulled back about mile 8 and finished in 1 hr and 10 minutes. It wasn’t a bad race. The joy of finishing something we set out to do far out weighed the small pain I endured to finish. Although, if it weren’t for John I would have quit about mid race.
It would have been easy for me to drop out. It would have been justified, but there is something to be said for those who experience community and push each other to the finish. Life isn’t always going to be puppies, rainbows, and skittle commercials. Sometimes you just have to endure. Sometime we need those in our life who our going to encourage, push us, and walk through the pain with us to endure.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Bruce Lee:
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”
It is with the support of a community that we endure. It is with the support of an individual or a group of people that we are created to thrive.