We Are An Easter People

I recently had a really good conversation with someone. You know, a really good one, where you’re left with more to think about than when you first started. The kind of conversation where certain words or phrases stick out like a fresh neon highlighter on a bright white page.

We were talking about the subjectivity of suffering and pain. We talked about pain but also of the good and growth that can come out of a painful experience. In the midst of our conversation, the person I was speaking with began to talk of how life will, a lot of times, throw us circumstances where it is hard to see God at work. We spent a moment recognizing that our God is not just “good” but that He is the Good. Good, with a capital G. Ultimately, we spoke of trusting the Lord, trusting our Good God, when life appears to be anything but “good.” Because, despite any form of suffering, we still have Good because we still have God. One specific phrase continues to play through my mind:

We are an Easter people, we have hope, we know that death–that pain–is not the end.

That phrase stuck out to me and I have pondered it for too long over the past three days.

We are an Easter people.

We have hope, we have peace, and we have joy. Death is not the final say because Christ defeated the grave! Suffering is not the end and pain is not the last thing you will feel because God is at work and God is Good. His plan is unfolding and it might seem chaotic but He works with a Perfect Peace and a love that rolled away the tombstone. I hope these words give you encouragement to seek out The Good in whatever you might find yourself tangled in this day.

We might find ourselves in the middle of a struggle that seems endless. Or in the middle of a time that seems hopeless. But take heart! This day, and always, we are an Easter people.

Reflection (maybe part one)

Let us not proclaim the Lord’s life and living with our lips. Let us instead proclaim the victorious risen Lord with our lives.

And let us live in such a way that we can not help but get immersed and entangled in interactions with those the world classifies as “the least of these.”

Because it is the “least of these” in whom I have seen and felt the presence of the living God. And it is by the “least of these” in which my heart is softened and my mind grows more understanding. It is by immersing myself in the lives of the “least of these” in which I realize that they are not really the “least.”

But maybe, in more ways than I’d care to admit, I am.

A Dangerous Prayer . . . (but aren’t most of them?)

Rise up in me Lord a heart of compassion. a heart of courage. one that is full of love. Rise up in me Lord a heart that sees the best in people and loves them beyond the surface. Rise up in me Lord a heart that is sympathetic and empathetic. one that loves until it hurts. Lord give me the grace to have a heart of compassion. Give me the grace to enter into situations in which i can see the best in people and love them deeply beyond their surface. Lord give the grace to show sympathy and empathy. Lord, give me the grace and humility to love others until i am empty and have only the strength to come boldly before Your throne to be filled again.

Compassion.

This word. It’s like I can’t escape it and it has been following me everywhere. I’ve been grappling with it and fighting through it yet it seems to be engrained into my mind– especially as I turn my lamp off and attempt to go to sleep. And I’ve been challenged to continue to work through it but to those who challenged me, I would challenge them back:

what does compassion look like?

What does compassion look like? In its most complex, intricate, over-the-top form. In its most simplistic and down-to-earth form. In its purest form, when it’s shown so rawly that it hurts. What does compassion look like?

fourhundredeight

your words matter and they make a difference
so don’t stop speaking
and in this instance, i need them
so don’t stop speaking
because mine sometimes fail me but yours seem constant
reliable, eloquent and full of truth
so i need you to yell it and scream it from the highest mountain top that you can scramble up to
and do it quickly without hesitation
because others need to hear them too
so do it quickly without hesitation

because your words matter
and they are making a difference in my life.

Race Recap: Broad Street 10 Miler

Image

 

On Sunday May 4th, I rode up to Philadelphia with a handful of friends to tackle my first Broad Street Run. It was a lot of fun and I would totally do again. Overall, the race was amazing! Here’s my race recap for the nations largest 10 miler:

Start: I thought the start of the race and set up of corrals were very well organized. Not many complaints in this department.

Race: Like I said, this race was awesome. It was the largest race I had ever done, so I was a little curious to see how the course and water stations would be set up/run (yes, pun intended). The first half of the race was great and the weather was perfect! My favorite part of the course was running through Temple University. The music from the band got loud and awesome and the crowd support picked up a lot. The University had their football team out cheering and college kids lined the streets to cheer for the runners. Around mile 5, the weather warmed up as I was approaching city hall. The streets did get a little tight around city hall but that could just be how the roads were set up to accomadate the larger crowds and turns along the road. Water/Gatorade stops were well staffed and I never encountered any problems there. The ground did become slippery with wet water cups all over the ground and in some spots Gatorade left the ground sticky. Most of the race was great, with an excellent number of friendly spectators and humorous signs.

End: The only complaint I have regarding the course came during the last half mile or so. As runners headed towards the Navy Yard, the crowds got incredibly louder– and larger. They lined the street which was really nice but I felt like the barricades cut in on the road some. I knew I was closing in on a PR, so for me, I thought the last half mile was a good time to use up any extra power I might have had laying around. Turns out it wasn’t that easy. Things got tight around the last quarter mile and it was hard to navigate through other runners by the time the last tenth of a mile approached. I still got my PR, but, selfishly, I feel that the organization of the course could have been a bit more spaced out. The last part of the race should be upbeat and supportive, but not at the expense of the expense of space for the runners.

Post-Race: As soon as I crossed the finish line, I headed to get all that I had run so hard for: my medal and a bag of food 🙂 There was a bit of a line to get some water and into the actual Navy Yard for refreshments; but, it moved at a decent pace. The post-race area, I thought, was organized and well set-up. There weren’t any substantially long lines for the bathroom and I didn’t have any trouble with other people or making my way around. Walking back to the parking lot took a while (though it wouldn’t have taken much of a distance to seem long after a 10 mile race) and it take a bit of time to get out of the lot onto the highway.

 

At the end of the day, I was very happy with my performance (and 3-minute PR!) and definitely earned my 9:00 bedtime 🙂 Broad Street was a fantastic race and I would highly recommend it to others!

1 Year Stronger

It’s been about a week and a half since the Boston Marathon. Check out this article I wrote about it for my school paper.

Boston Marathon: 1 Year Later

    371 days after the bombings of the Boston Marathon last year, the 118th Boston Marathon took place. This year’s race gained even more attention than usual due to the tragedies that cut short last year’s race. Last year, two bombs were set off near the finish line and killed 3 people and injured hundreds others. In the wake of last year’s tragedies, the event was expected to be a big one. And with an American man taking the victory and incredible crowd support, that it was. I talked to a student who watched the race through an online broadcast. She said that she “had to watch the race after last year. The best part of watching was seeing how the whole community came together!” With a strong sense of community evident throughout the day, is year’s marathon was one that won’t soon be forgotten.

While some people may have been deterred by last year’s bombings, many saw it as a reason to show even more support. According to Runner’s World magazine, an estimated 1 million spectators cheered on a field on 36,000 runners. With this many people to be accounted for, eyes turned to the race committee and people began to question what security would look like. Security, wrote Scott Douglas, of Runner’s World Newswire, “was visibly increased along the route, with 3,500 uniformed police and National Guard officers and 500 plainclothes personnel.” Many runners commented on how they felt safe throughout the race. Along with increased security, other changes were made regarding bag checks and athlete transportation. This security ran smoothly and provided a safe and fun environment for runners and spectators everywhere.

One of the most surprising and memorable occurrences of the day occurred only 2 hours and 8 minutes after the elite men’s field set off, when American Meb Keflezighi approached the finish line. The crowds cheered loudly and watched him become the first American in 31 years to take the men’s title at Boston. While this was an unexpected finish for the men’s field, it was certainly gladly welcomed. Roger Robinson, of Runner’s World Magazine, wrote that Meb’s victory, “gave Boston and America the victory the whole country longed for, but scarcely dared hope for, in the most emotional and significant of all 118 Boston Marathons.” In his victory America found victory for themselves, as the nation gathered together to find strength to move on from last year.

At the end of the day, the 2014 Boston Marathon lived up to (and perhaps exceeded) all of the hype that surrounded it in the preceding weeks before race day. The race, its crowd support, and Keflezighi’s American victory all factored into the wonderful race day atmosphere that surrounded Boston this April 21st.