I really feel fortunate to have grown up during the running craze. Remember the early 80’s? Everyone was running. Everyone was taking LSD (long slow distance) and wearing waffle tread. We were signing up for 5k’s and paying to find out how slow were really were. The pros were sponsored to run at the front. They looked like race horses, thoroughbreds with lean muscles and long legs. We were happy to be on the same course with our singlets and ¾ slit running shorts bought through mail order catalogs. It was a healthier time.
But that time hasn’t died. It has only slowed down—a lot. Gone are the track work outs and the Wednesday group runs. Gone are the two-a-days, the Fartleks, the tempo run, the carbo loading and the meticulous scheduling and training plans. In its place is, well running, the basic of all human activity. The basis of survival.
When I’m in shape, like running ten miles in shape, I know if I break down on the highway, I can always run. If I’m in danger, like a saber tooth tiger is about to attack, I can just run away. If I forget a meeting, blow up, get embarrassed, be publicly humiliated, say something really stupid, or miss a moment, I can just run.
When I’m angry, I run and when I’m depressed, I run. When I’m happy, tired, or agitated, I run.
But when my son died, I sat. I sat and I stared. Heavy, fatigued and unaware. Time stood still. Color was gone, pleasant odors meant nothing, food just tasteless. Running away was pointless. I entered the world of nothing. Nothing mattered, nothing cared, nothing happened. Zombies don’t run. Not real Zombies. They are the survivors left with hollow eyes, purposeless gait, devoid. They have no reason to run. They’re Zombies.
You may know what I’m talking about. You may be there now. You may not know or never know or think you know. But if you know, you know there is no end, no change, no way out. You know nothing, you think even less. The world is foreign to you. It could be scary if you cared but you don’t.
You care about one thing, and that thing is dead. That thing was your life. You know that dead is a void that shakes you back to your childhood innocence when dead makes no sense at all. How could something be here one moment and gone the next and yet it is still right in front of you? You are still a child and that’s all you know.
Dead? Gone? Passed on? Deceased, lost, expired, terminated? The words we use are so inadequate they become meaningless. People have been dying for a long time and you still don’t get it. It is a void that no amount of euphemisms can fill.
Yet you pretend. You go to the doctor, brush your teeth, eat low cholesterol, high fiber, low sodium and less sugar. You wear a mask, keep six feet away, and wash your hands. Oh, how you wash your hands. And you eat just the right amount of carbs and protein. All because you are living a long and prosperous life.
I run. No longer for a medal, an age group equivalent, or a qualifying time for Boston. No longer for health, security or prestige. I run because I am alive. And the tiger is still out there.
“I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize.” Philippians 3:13
I invite you to run and also to check out my book, When Sunday Smiled, and now it has its own inspirational song and up for Best Christian Memoir. It’s for people like you who want to be inspired to show us there is more to this world. And I have a new book, a novel coming out by the end of the year! Check out both on my website, Andymdavidson.com