Monday Musings for June 18, 2017
Vacation Bible School begins this morning! It’s going to be a great week. This Sunday at 11 am our VBS children will be with us to sing their songs and to share their excitement.
These past few days, Helen and I have been in Portland attending Annual Conference along with Doug Renfrow and Rochelle Killett. And Ralph Lawrence! Seeing Ralph was one of the highlights of Annual Conference for me. This was his 65th consecutive Annual Conference. He attended as part of the old Idaho Conference in 1953. We became the Oregon-Idaho Conference in 1968. He has been the one constant through all these many years. Ralph had major surgery on May 8, so keeping his Annual Conference streak intact was no small thing.
Another highlight of Annual Conference had nothing to do with the meeting itself. During some free time, I got together with someone I hadn’t seen in 40 years. Dave Hamilton and I were competitors back in college. He ran for George Fox and I ran for Willamette. We were evenly matched. We remember our epic battles. We both took our running pretty seriously. And we still do.
One reason I wanted to see Dave is that we are both part of the United States Running Streak Association. Dave began his streak in 1972. It ended a year ago in April, after running at least one mile every day for 43 years and 8 months.
My streak is more modest. I’m closing in on 37 years. There is no way I will equal my friend’s accomplishment. It would take me seven more years. He did something truly remarkable. And so did Ralph Lawrence.
Two streaks. Two people who would not be denied. Two major surgeries. Ralph kept his streak alive after his. Dave had no choice but to stop. But he started again as soon as his body would let him. He already has another streak going of over a year.
Why? That’s a good question. Ralph probably should have stayed home and taken it easy. Dave probably should take a rest day now and then. And I probably should, too.
It’s an interesting battle we are all engaged in. In our own ways, we are all trying to keep going while age is trying to get us to stop. It’s a losing battle. It’s a battle none of us will win. So why bother trying? Because there is something to be said for “fighting the good fight” (II Timothy 4:7). Paul wrote that and then he died. He didn’t win his battle either.
And yet, he did! In this life, by the way he fought. In the next life, as he received his reward.
What Ralph and Dave have done is rare. Some would say strange. But it’s part of the human spirit to find a way to push against our human limits and to not give in without a fight.
I suspect you, in your own way, are doing that, too. Even on this Monday when staying in bed a little longer may have been tempting. But life is meant to be lived. May you give this day and every future day God gives you your very best.