Recently, this road to travel has emerged in nearly every part of my life. My running community, my professional career, the place I choose to worship at, and in my own extended family. Knowing what exactly I believe in, my values, the foundation upon which I stand...knowing those beyond a shadow of a doubt and living them out is what drives the direction in which I travel. Often...nearly always for me, that direction is not one of popularity. Stripping everything away though, if people knew who I truly am, they would have a difficult time throwing arrows and knives while still being able to look in the mirror. Friends, we live in a wretched, fallen world. However, it is a beautiful, breathtaking world at the same time. The beauty in people and our Earth is all around, we simply have to choose to step into it and immerse ourselves.
Yesterday, we went to see the new movie, "42" about the famous Jackie Robinson, the first non-white person to play in major league baseball. It's a raw movie that didn't sugar coat racism back in the 40s. It portrayed it for what it was, unapologetically. We took our 12 year old with us and she now ranks it 2nd in her favorite movies. (second only to the Phantom of the Opera!) It portrays the "before and after" and where we've come from. I know first hand that hateful racism still exists this very day but today is still a stark contrast to where our country once was. Still racism and prejudice still poison our society. "42" is a movie about true goodness and being human to one another, no matter what. Regardless of our religious beliefs, our sexual orientation, or skin color, we are to treat others with respect, dignity, and erect no barriers to entry based on those things. Like I wrote in my intolerance vs. tolerance post, it's about tolerance. After the movie, we talked a lot about it as a family. I highly recommend "42"...just know there is some 'colorful' language along the way, but that's it.
Jackie Robinson was judged before he even opened his mouth. I think we all feel that way to some extent. The way we look, what folks have heard about us through gossip, the house we live in, the car we drive...we are judged...and we judge, don't we? I want to challenge you to stop that and I say that while pointing the finger at myself at the same time. Don't pass by that homeless beggar at the corner holding a cardboard sign assuming you know one shred of evidence about him or her. Don't assume you know why the checkout clerk is grumpy today. It could be anything and you may be the only shred of "sunshine" that might squeak in to their day. Don't assume you know me or my intentions unless I tell you, either. Don't consider me your enemy, friend, or foe unless you know it to be true. You don't know my heart unless I tell you and you see it lived out through my actions. What do they say? Communication is something like 90% non-verbal and 10% verbal.
See my actions and see my heart.
Before we saw the movie yesterday, I ran with my wife during her first 5K this year. I didn't register and ran it as a "bandit" alongside her. She did REALLY well, placing well within her age group and overall. Afterwards, just to prove you never know who is watching or your impacting, a stranger came up to me and said "You make an awesome pacer!" "ME?" I replied. "Yea!!!" That was a nice little intangible boost that I appreciated. You never know when what you are saying or doing is impacting someone for the good (or unfortunately, the bad). Most times, I'd bet you'll never know. Do it, regardless. For you should not seek the approval or the pat on the back...do it because it's the right thing to do and expect nothing in return. In that, you'll find the joy that you can't buy or obtain. You'll simply receive it.
After the race, I kissed my bride goodbye and ran home...just a few towns over. It was a beautiful day out for a run and I "accidentally" took a crazy hilly route home but still maintained an 8:30 to 9min pace home. I grabbed this one photo along the way and ended up with a solid 14 miles for the day. Nice!
So stop building your foundation on sand and lay down some concrete. Know it, live it, and don't compromise on what you stand for. Then, stand by for the joy to follow.
Have a great Sunday and week, friends!