Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Thankful And Weary

Today was the Holiday Thanksgiving in Canada. I put away the lawn furniture, had my second family dinner of the weekend, and spent a stressful few hours at a Vet with our nervous cat Rosie, who we hope will be healthy.

This weekend I ate too much of the wrong foods, slept too much, yet laughed and enjoyed stepping off the treadmill that has become my life.
Nine years ago today I went to Church with my beautiful family, content with my life, content with my world. Nine years ago my life was changed for I found out about young children in Cambodia being sold as sex slaves and how Ratanak International was helping these children and were looking for others who were willing to help.
My life has and will never be the same!

I am a volunteer for Ratanak International who seven years ago discovered a new "talent" I never knew I had. The talent is the ability to run a long distance without stopping. I am a volunteer who has become a marathon runner to raise funding and awareness. I have ran six full marathons, and am training for a seventh in the spring.
I have found that by running a few smaller races spread out before the full marathon is a good way to break up your training and also a good way to make sure you are ready on the big day.
I have always thought the time to quit running marathons will arrive when I pull up lame in a race. Possibly I will have an injury and may have to limp to the finish line with an incredibly slow time, yet also an incredible moving story. This would be as if God is saying enough, time for me to move on.
Two weeks ago I realized the mental part of preparing for a marathon may stop me long before the physical, my mind may give up long before my body has the chance.

The definition of weary: physically or mentally exhausted by hard work, exertion, strain etc.
Matthew 11:28
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
 and I will give you rest."

Exodus 18:18
"You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves
 out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone."

"together we are called to be modern day Moses who God is sending forth to seek justice on behalf of the oppressed into places like Cambodia, a hot bed for sex tourism and sex trafficking.
This battle is not for the fainthearted, it can wear you down, it will disturb your spirit when you hear and read of man`s inhumanity to a child, it will require more than you and I can ever give but none the less, it is worth it- it is a fight for life, it is a fight for dignity, it is a fight for freedom, it is a fight for hope, and it is a fight for love."
This quote is from Lisa Cheong Country Director for Ratanak International after scaring away a French man wanting to purchase a young girl for sex.
It is a fight I dare not lose!

Two weeks ago I was weary. Definitely more mental and spiritual than physical. I am in serious training for a half marathon in November.
On "easy" days I was training on an elliptical machine to give my legs a break from the pounding of running. I was going home from the gym exhausted on these days, for these days I was stuck with a television in front of me turned to an American news station showing me the news, all the news, especially the bleak, disturbing pictures, the experts and their commentary, replay after replay.

I thought back to a few years ago. I missed running in the Boston Marathon by 10 seconds, I picked The Cleveland Marathon instead. That is the year the bombs went off in Boston. On the same piece of fitness equipment at my gym I saw the bomb replays hundreds of times. Three weeks later I saw the story of the man in Cleveland who kept the three girls captive for ten years. I saw the story, heard all the details.
One day while running I wonder why does this station cover news like this? Is this what people want?
Not to trivialize the loss of many at the Boston bombing but why did this same news station not run some of the inspirational stories, such as some who actually overcame great loss and ran last year`s marathon.
Why has the same news station not told of the recovery of the three girls in Cleveland? Why not mention the trust fund set up by generous donors around the world to help the girls with their recovery? Why has the news station not mentioned how this house of evil was levelled and destroyed right down to the ground, nothing left.
Why will this news station not mention a future story, a story where a rich donor buys this land and builds a center to help teen age girls recover from their trauma. It will be named after the three girls kept captive.

"Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay it`s price."
Sun Izu
Victory for me is finishing a marathon healthy enough to resume work within three days. I have four different types of runs that have allowed me to accomplish this. Most weeks I run one of each.

Long run
A run down my ravine now the time is around 1 hour 40 minutes, later on in training over three hours, possibly four.

Moderate run
A run down my ravine now the time is around 1 hour later on in training about 2 hours.

Moderate run with hills
A run again down my ravine but with hills. The time is now around 1 hour with 5 hills, later on in training around 2 hours with sometimes 15 hills.

Treadmill run
Least favourite by far. Not even close. Can you hate an object? I think I do.
I have ran 55 minutes so far, later on in training possibly 1 hour 20 minutes.

I never regret an outdoor run. I never look forward to a treadmill run. I sometimes have to run less than I want to outside. I always have to force myself to run on treadmill days.
Each run serves a purpose and without the difficulty of training on the treadmill I do not think I could have finished my last two marathons ran in extreme heat.

On my longest run of the year I was thinking of how long I am going to run as this is a day I work after my run. As I run down Burnhamthorpe road out of the corner of my eye I see a woman running at me frantically waving a piece of paper. I stop to see what she needs.
She is lost, she tells me she wants to go to High Park, her husband nods sheepishly at me from their car.
I am busy but as someone who gets lost a lot I feel sympathy for this woman and try to get her to her picnic. A car horn sounds (15 seconds straight) I look at her husband`s car (he is blocking nothing) so I resume. Another 15 second blast. A woman from the honking car gets out of the passenger side (looks at the lost lady with the most disgust in a look I have seen in my life) and says "this is a parking lot for people who go to church."

I tell her this lady is lost and I am helping her. Church ladies husband gets out of the car and delivers the same look as his wife.
Later on thinking of this couple I was so grateful for not having them as neighbours as I pictured them looking at every house on their street where a by law infraction may have occurred and calling the by law officer every day.
I sent the lost couple on their way and resumed my run.

I thought of this lost couple seeking help at a church and being rejected. I thought of Jesus speaking to religious leaders
Mathew 23 27
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like white washed tombs, which are beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men`s bones and everything unclean."

I jokingly thought of paying a visit to this church, yes today your guest speaker will be sweaty running guy to tell you his take on what happened on your church grounds, just before the service started. I was running along chuckling to myself at walking into a church of everyone with the same expressions as this couple when my thoughts changed.
As with an earlier story I wrote about witnessing a young girl in traffic, one minute earlier, one minute later I am not a witness to this story.
As I run I think of Heaven I think of faces that know me and my family. Young Cambodian girls know us, this was shown to me in a very tough moment of an earlier marathon.

As I think of Heaven some people seem to be missing, names and faces are absent.
I realize some people may miss out on Heaven because of the poor representation some are of us are of Christ. I than wonder have I or will I turn someone away from Heaven? Imagine if my actions could possibly keep someone from entering Heaven. Very sobering.
Live each day as if it is your last, never shy away from truth, never compromise your integrity, never judge, never hate, and always love.



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