Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Accomplishing accomplishments

This past Sunday, I ran my third half marathon of the season. I'm hooked! Even though I'm slow, and usually have no other goal in mind than to just finish - there is something truly thrilling to me to cross the finish line after 13.1 miles. I've been pondering this ever since Sunday - this sense of accomplishment. See, in my line of work - there isn't much feeling of accomplishment. I suppose there could be - but it would require me stepping outside the chaos of daily life to see accomplishment amidst the mundane. Most of the time, I feel like my job requires 18 years of service before I will see much accomplishment. I know it isn't true...but that's where I live most of the time. (More on that to come in a bit.)

Back to the race. This race was a little different for me. The race itself (The Heart and Sole Half Marathon) excited me, as a portion of the profits went to benefit the Orphan of Aids Trust Fund - a cause near and dear to my heart. The course was the best one of the three races I've ran, and I can't wait for this race again next year. But what was different is that the first two races I ran were for me and my own challenge - this race I had the honor of running alongside and encourage four beautiful young women who had never run this distance before. A few of them have taken to calling me "coach", which I think is silly, because truly - it was just such a joy for me to train with them and encourage them that if I can do this, surely they can do this! All the way to the finish line I watched as two girls sped off so far ahead of me I could no longer see them, and stayed just inches behind as the other two girls crossed the finish line STRONG. I can't tell you how proud I was to see the accomplishment of these friends. Then it was my turn. While the pace was different than my norm, and I didn't leave it all out there - I stepped over the finish line grinning from ear to ear at the joy of finishing my little 13.1 miles once again. (I know - that's not little, but when I'm surrounded by major marathoners and crazy runners - I feel like I can't get too excited about JUST 13.) Truly though, the joy of being alongside these other NOW runners was one of the biggest joys I've experienced in a long time.

I can't exactly explain why the sense of accomplishment brought me such a high, and this is what is bothering me. What is it about the accomplishment that leaves us feeling such a high? Is it pride? Maybe. But not always, not this time. I wondered if this is what people who have real jobs feel like. Like Aaron? Does he feel this joy after marrying one of the couples he has counseled? Or after pulling off a weekend service? Or all my engineer friends who have projects that linger forever? Do they feel this way when it's all over? There is just something so fulfilling about working hard, putting in the time, sweat, and energy to finally cross that finish line (metaphorically speaking). But I'm left pondering how God fits into these personal accomplishments in the end. Obviously, He gave me the physical ability to run and train. But when it's all over, how does He fit into what I now feel? Because I want to truly say - to God be the Glory......

I shall ponder more.... but silently. Until then - enjoy these pictures. But don't leave just yet, there's more at the end.

My Mom and Dad were able to watch me cross the finish line this time!

Dad makes a good stretching pole.

Talk about accomplishment!!! My favorite running buddy and hero, Kassie, set her personal record at a time of 1:51. I want to run like her when I grow up!

Annika, Tiana, Danielle, me, and Mel SO happy to be DONE!

I was so proud of Mel. She jumped in late in the game with training, and was amazing all the way to the end. She showed me what perseverance and commitment looks like.

Go Mel!!

Danielle isn't even on the ground, that's how speedy she is when she can see the finish line!

Annika and Tiana giving it their all at the end. So proud of these two super stars!

Apparently when people call you "coach", it means they have the right to surprisingly dump water all over you at the end. 

What just happened?

I will pay you back. :)

Thanking God for an amazing race! 

Now, as if this post wasn't long enough - I do have one other accomplishment to share. It didn't hit me until all 5 kids were out of the house at school yesterday, but I was able to have it quiet enough for 5 minutes (actually, it only took one minute of quiet for me to realize something was different) to reflect on this small accomplishment. I know being a Mom is a big calling, and a big job. But as I said before - it's hard to always feel that in the day in day out. So on the first day of school, it hit me - over the last 12 years, I have birthed 3, adopted 2, potty trained 4, had 22 combined months of sleepless nights, taught, trained, raised, loved, fed and watered these 5 people out the door to school to learn of greater things. Tell me there is accomplishment in that! To this accomplishment - there isn't a doubt in my mind..... TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

 I need a sabbatical.

These pictures bring me even more joy.....

Eden the 4th grader

Sam my man, 3rd grade!

Kira the 1st grader

My Baby Man - Mr. Malachi....Kindergarten. Sniffle.

I told you I need a sabbatical. Would you look at that tired face?? (Me, not Malachi.)

Say it isn't so. Providence - 7th grade. Yes she is almost as tall as me. ..and even more lovely!

Here's to accomplishing accomplishments. Cheers!