This is the second blog in our Another Brother series, and it takes place in the frozen north of our country… at least in the winter months.
As one who speaks to many HopeQuest alumni on a regular basis I learn of many ways people cope with their anxieties, disappointments, fears, and triggers. There are Bible readers, meditating pray-ers, worship participators, safe friend callers, and journal-ers. The list goes on and on. There are hunters and swimmers and weightlifters and cross-fitters and there are… runners.
While the truth is that most people in recovery do many of the things listed above in combination (and more), the friend we are sharing about today is one of the latter… a runner.
What picture comes to mind when I tell you he is a runner? I will tell you what came to mind for me when I first heard him tell me that one stressful morning that he went for a run at 4:30 in the morning. I saw a heavily bundled-up man with only his eyes and the bridge of his nose exposed to the elements. His breath was pushing through his scarf in long clouds of effort, and I could almost hear the cadence of his sneakers as they rhythmically crossed over the snow mile after mile after mile.
It made me think… RECOVERY IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT. This brother’s choosing to run to ward off the anxiety of his situation is a great metaphor. It’s a powerful picture and a great truth that we all can learn from.
There is, however, a slight twist to the story. On those days when he tells me he went for a run he will tell me, “Today I ran seven tenths of a mile. Today I ran just over a mile. Today I ran a half a mile.” I confess when I first heard these reports I was like, “That’s not running?! It’s like getting the mail for crying out loud!”
I had to check myself immediately… right there and then. Are the relatively short distances he is CURRENTLY running relevant at all?
With his permission I share that he came to HopeQuest, like so many other brave people, broken and deeply wounded. He worked as hard as anyone I have been around and left 90 days later with a plan and a vision of hope. His marriage was intact, and he was home with his children. Then after a couple slips things took a downward turn at home and he has since lost his marriage (for now) but, thankfully, they remain friendly and cooperative, and the children see their dad a lot.
He lost his job as a pastor and misses it a bunch. He has taken on a new job that is stretching him greatly so instead of waking up each morning with a ball of anxiousness causing him to toss and turn and wish he could just fall back to sleep… the alarm goes off at 4:30am… and he runs.
Running Toward Becoming Whole
My dear friend is running toward a great many things. He is not just trying to jog and reach the next ice-glazed mailbox in the distance; he is running toward becoming whole. As a part of his inner circle, I am honored to hear from him almost daily. His first response when triggered or stressed is to run and REACH OUT to trusted brothers. He runs to listen to sermons and worship music so his spirit-man can be fed and edified.
Is he perfect? I can hear him laughing at the thought. We all know better.
Recovery Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
My brother knows recovery is a marathon and not a sprint so whether he runs 26 miles or 26 feet, I believe he is running with all his heart.
Don’t ever let those words confuse or discourage you… when the Bible tells us to love with ALL our hearts… I know I used to feel awful because I never could love to 100%. But God doesn’t ask for a perfection we cannot achieve.
Some days ALL means less for me than other days. My strength waxes and wanes. Some people are stronger than other people.
What God asks is that we give the best we have… give Him the first fruits of our day… show ourselves grace along the way and run toward Him.
To my dear bother… keep running.