Today's blog is a combination of things that have happen since my running of the Tybee 1/2 Marathon Saturday, 2/4/12.
It was my first 1/2 & I did finish. HOWEVER, it nearly whooped my butt. It seems the pain in my right leg during the last 2 weeks of my training was not shin splints...but a stress fracture (found that out 3 days AFTER the race, after the Dr read the x-rays).
We had a group of 8 that trained together from LifeSpring Church over the last several months. The final race times for our team ranged from Alex, who ran the fastest for the guys in his first ever 1/2 marathon and finished at 1hr. 41 mins. Next for the guys was Josh, who was not far behind Alex.
Deb, finished in 1hr & 50 mins. which was top for our girls, with Courtney & Shannon just a few mins or so behind her.
Dave, Rebecca and I, like Alex, were attempting our first ever 1/2. Dave and Rebecca did remarkable finishing in 2hrs. 44 mins & 2 hrs. 41 mins respectively.
Then come the ole preacherman. Yep, 3 miles of running before the pain was so bad that I had to walk and run mile 4. From then on is was a slow, tearful, and extremely painful hobble, to the finish line that was 9 miles away.
I had time to ask lots of questions: questions to God “why me”, and questions for myself “what the heck are you doing Dorsia”.
I had time to pray: Pray for my teammates, pray for the pain to stop, pray for the strength to endure the pain, pray not to throw up because of the pain, pray for that 100 year old lady not to pass me at mile 6…(she passed me, along with several hundred others).
So, with all that time, I “shuffled on”, until I crossed the finish line..... at a blazing time of 4 hrs. 21 mins.
Since Saturday, I have been put in a walking boot and placed on crutches for 3-4 weeks, and told no running for 10 weeks (there was a time when that phrase “no running” would have been good news...but honestly, I already am missing running...crazy for an old, fat guy, right?).The doctor just shook his head and said, “the pain alone should have stopped you…unbelievable”, before he said “mid distal tibia stress fracture” and suggested I drink more milk and take calcium supplements.
And, unbelievably, I even preached the next day…sitting in a chair.Moreover, some said it was the best, emotional sermon they had heard from me… to bad we didn’t recorded it for posterity.
Below is a copy of an email that I sent to those who attended that Sunday’s worship service with a few things that I felt I needed to say.I hope your will read it and that God will give you encouragement and hope through the words.
From the LifeSpring Church message series titled RUN: the 2/5/12 sermon called: Execution.
As you could tell, this was an emotional message for me to deliver. Early on, as a young man, I was taught to keep your emotions in check… sort of like that old Secret deodorant commercial; “never let them see you sweat”… well, for me, it was; “never let them see you cry”. This is really difficult for a person who is as passionate about life as I am, and who also has my mother’s blood running through their veins (Momma Ruth will start crying when she reads just this much of the email…sorry about that dad).
Anyway, due to time on Sunday (and my emotional state), I was not able to tell you of the BIGGEST blessing I received during the ½ marathon race at Tybee. I feel that it is important that you hear this, and this is why you are receiving this email.
This Sunday’s message, as well as the others in the RUN series revolved around Philippians 4:13 “I can do EVERYTHING through (Jesus) who strengthens me.”
I spoke of about my goals for the race were: 1-having the endurance & stamina to finish the race & 2-not passing out or throwing-up in front of anyone.
I also shared some of my intimate personal commitments (aka…promises…covenants) I had made with Jesus over the years: 1) I will walk to you and with you 2) I will follow your plan 3) I will give you my all 4) I will give you glory in all areas of my life 5) I will do all this in a way that others will see the Life-Change I have is from you 6) I will lead others to a similar type Life-Change found in their living out Jesus’ purpose in their lives
I talked about how I liked the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible when it uses the word “BELOVED” verses the New International Version (NIV) when it uses “Dear Friends”.
I spoke about the bonding that I had developed with my “Beloved” runners from LifeSpring, especially my running partner, during our training. I told of how the LifeSpring running team’s words of encouragement, as well as just seeing them running their race and achieving their goals as we passed one another on various parts of the race route, was so encouraging to me.
I even had an overhead that emphasized this by saying; “Christians are drawn together to strengthen each other, so they can stand alone.”
Yes, for over 3 ½ hours, the thoughts, memories, and past words of encouragement from my teammates helped me to continue hobbling toward the finish line. And maybe that is what has helped you get to where you are today with your spiritual journey with Jesus. The past thoughts, memories, and past words of encouragement from significant people in your past… your teammates.
But, as Paul Harvey says, “here’s the rest of the story”… Hobbling alone in pain somewhere past the 11 mile marker, I heard a yell behind me…a yell loud enough I heard it over my headphones (Yes, even though I was injured and hobbling I was still listening to my “running playlist” of songs). I looked to see Lindsay & Laura, two LifeSpringers who had come just to support our running team & take pictures for historical documentation of this great event. Behind them were Alex and Rebecca, my running partner, who had just finished the race a good while earlier. I quickly turned my head and acted like I didn’t hear them, and proceeded to thank the nice policeman for his patience for waiting on me as he blocked traffic so I could cross through intersection of the road. As I kept hobbling, tears just started flowing out of my eyes like a water faucet. The good thing is since Lindsay & Laura had not been training to run, and Alex and Rebecca were exhausted from already running 13 miles, it took several minutes for them to catch up to me. This allowed for me to collect myself (aka “get my stuff together”) before they got to me.
And do you know what? They all walked the last 2 miles of the race with me. In fact Josh, Shannon, Deb, Dave, all came back to walk with me (Courtney had also came, but she went a different direction looking for me and never found me). OUR WHOLE LIFESPRING TEAM CAME BACK FOR ME! Even though they had finished the race, had the car keys and had other things to do that day, THEY CAME BACK FOR ME. Even though there was a period of time when we were separated and alone, and had to rely on our thoughts, memories, and past words of encouragement from each other…they understood that wouldn’t be enough. AND THEY CAME BACK FOR ME! They went the extra mile (in my case 2 ½ miles) and walked it with me. They said things like, “we started as a team, and we’ll finish as a team”, “no one gets left behind…no one, not even you preacher”.
I’m not sure of what you are looking for out of life. I’m not sure what you are looking for out of a church. I’m not sure what your relationship is with Jesus. I’m not sure of how God is going to use you and our church to bring about Life Transformation in our areas of influence. I’m not even sure of why I am writing you this email, other than to say this….
I am sure I am trying my best to follow Jesus wherever He leads.
I am sure our church will do everything we can to obediently follow Jesus wherever He leads.
I am sure you are invited to be a part of Jesus’ Team of Christians.
I am sure you are invited to be a part of the LifeSpring Team.
And I promise you this, if you join Jesus’ Team & the LifeSpring Team, you may feel at times that you are alone… but YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
I also promise you this. Your fellow Christian teammates, especially the ones at LifeSpring, WILL COME BACK FOR YOU! You won’t finish the race alone! Because we believe that Life Changing encounters of Jesus’ love are best found when DOING LIFE TOGETHER. “We started as a team, and we’ll finish as a team”, “no one gets left behind…no one, not even you”.
I hope to see you this Sunday as we take church to a “Whole ‘nother level” as we begin the SUN STAND STILL message series.
Dorsia, Pastor of the most AWESOME LifeSpring Church