.the matter in the miles.

.the matter in the miles.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


confession: my bathroom STILL isn't primed or painted. 😳
you're right, it has been 6 months...

(this sweaty post-run selfie brought to you by the Team World Vision #decathlon challenge)

but despite the heaviness with which these types of responsibilities weigh on my shoulders [THEY DO!], i am still trying to make time to run, because i recognize that life can't always wait for everything to be tidy. 
kids don't deserve to wait for clean water to be a part of their lives, 
so i won't be waiting to do what i can to help them.
this is one of many stories of what can happen when we say yes,
whether our bathrooms are painted yet or not.


{{ Wednesday, August 2nd: the story of an unexpectedly significant day midway through training 
for my (i know i'm crazy) fourth marathon, & what happened in the course of 7 miles. }}

today, i took a day off of work with grandiose plans of finishing *EVERY* unfinished project around my house, as i naturally expect to do on every "day off" i come upon. [spoiler alert: it's 9pm and that didn't happen, but i think the world's still turnin' 'round, so i'll try again tomorrow.]

nearly as soon as i woke up, i came across the breaking news of a gas explosion at a high school that's literally 1 mile as the crow flies from my house. [i actually looked it up on this "as the crow flies" calculator for accuracy... feel free to give me all the nerd cred.]
this school is the alma-mater of one of my pastors, & i attended her wedding there just a few months ago. i run past it regularly on my training runs. the explosion caused a portion of the building to collapse. several people were rushed to the hospital with injuries ranging from minor to critical, & multiple others remained unaccounted for.

by definition, this was a tragedy that hit "close to home."
so rather than achieving super-efficiency in the house cleaning department, or transforming my interior into one worthy of a featured spread in some modern home magazine, i spent today meandering back & forth between folding laundry & sitting, glued to the screen, absorbing live updates as 2 missing people were found, one person was declared dead, and the rescue efforts continued.

with situations like this, the helplessness we are so skilled at disassociating ourselves from becomes intolerably palpable. even the police & fire fighters had to stand aside due to leaking gas, an ongoing fire, & structural threats. but i always know that when my hands are tied, there is something i can do. i believe that prayer matters, & the world needs more of it. so i planned to run by the school & pray for those involved. i invited a couple of my friends [who also happen to be teammates/coworkers/neighbors] to join me later that night, but one of them proposed we go right away...
so i laced up, & off we went to run & pray.
*on a side note, the founder of the
team i run with pointed out that
there is often nothing we can do to
lessen our own suffering, but there is
almost always something we can do
to lessen the suffering of others.
yet another reason i run when i feel
 helpless: to lessen the suffering of 
those who lack access to clean water.

we jogged towards the river, turned north along the parkway, & crossed to head back west along the south side of the school. as we neared the school, we stopped to recite the Lord's Prayer together:

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 
Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, 
for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." 

we witnessed rescue workers and the emergency response support vehicles with volunteers who were there to feed them. i remembered Mr. Rogers' comment to "always look for the helpers." as we neared our homes, we parted ways as my friends continued towards their house, & i turned south to finish the stretch. 

approaching my front lawn, i nearly turned towards my front step to call it a night, but then a few arguments started rolling through my mind as to why i should add a few more miles to cover a longer run i had missed earlier in the week, so i set back out towards the river. turning north again along the parkway, i contemplated that nudge to keep going, to give more. i wondered & hoped that someone else might reply to a similar nudge to give more for the kids as a response to my steps. maybe they, too, would be willing to sacrifice the comfort of taking the easy route in order to give more to meet the need of another? 

a few blocks further, as i passed two people running toward me, i realized that i knew one of them! the guy who had just passed me was a friend from college in Colorado who i hadn't seen in probably 7 years! i turned around & shouted out to him, & was able to spend a few minutes catching up briefly. what a joy it is to be known. we parted ways & i headed back towards the school. this time, i spent more time observing & praying... & i ran into another teammate, a Minnehaha Academy alumni, who i hadn't seen in nearly 2 years. both encounters were reminders of this broader family i sometimes lose sight of & reconnecting was a gift of encouragement.

in the end, this little nudge did more than just help me check off a longer training run.
it brought me into a space to hear & see:


i see restoration breaking in from all sides. 
 God's kingdom is coming to the place where i am, right into my neighborhood. 
 His presence is a place of healing that overcomes the brokenness, of community that unifies despite every lie that tries to divide us. we are neighbors, human & limited individually, but together we are powerful; with God we are unstoppable. with these people who make up the church, we "go farther together." we dare to look on the rubble, the tired & hungry laborer, the thirsty child - & we dare to do more than just look: we stand with the hurting, lift up the broken, run for the walking, & ask on behalf of those beyond earshot. 


if i didn't have friends to "go farther together" with, i might not go at all most of the time. without knowing that my brothers & sisters are walking for water, i wouldn't go at all, period. but tonight i'm glad i did, & that by going, it brought me to a place where i could hear. i'm glad that i listened to the prompt to give more in miles & prayer, that i get to feel connected to this place - my home, my neighborhood, my world... i'm grateful that i have a way to love people around me & that i am capable of affecting change across the globe.

to be honest, it's completely possible that the greatest significance of this day was that i made space to listen. i hear that i am a part of this bigger story, even if silence sometimes seems predominant. thankfully, hearing is only half of the equation.

i want to know what you hear & see, 
& i want to help you make space & time to listen. 
my prayer for you, my friend, is that you would respond to those unanticipated nudges, 
& be open to seeing beyond what you expect to find. 


if you'd like to join me in praying for Minnehaha Academy, i am praying for these things: 

PEACE for those affected: especially students, staff, & their families
COMFORT for those mourning loss of life
WISDOM for the doctors & those searching through the rubble
HEALING for injured victims & traumatized students & staff
PROTECTION from injury as rescuers continue their efforts
FORGIVENESS for anyone who carries the burden of fault, in incidence or imagination
MERCY to permeate the relationships between the school & contractors
LOVE to be the greatest victor in this situation


"... in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Phil 4: 6-7 

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!'" - Revelation 21:3-5 

"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them." - Psalm 34:7 

"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." - Colossians 3:13-14 

"The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer." - Psalm 6:9 

"We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia - your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it" - 1 Thessalonians 1:4-8

Monday, October 5, 2015

marathon #1.

For everyone who wants to know how my marathon went yesterday:

The marathon was rough. Yesterday was one of those days my body did NOT want to be running...

After gathering with my teammates for a worship service & team pep-talk, I headed for the starting zone. I had hoped to run with a group from our team who would be doing a run 10 minutes/walk 1 minute rhythm, but couldn't find any familiar faces after I dropped off my bag. At the last minute, my roommate Jess found me at the back of our corral, & we set out. The weather was the perfect temperature, clear skies, no wind... During the first few miles, I realized that I wasn't breathing like I was running at all, which was bizarre. My body was probably mostly asleep, but still awake enough to feel stiff & disagreeable. I started out optimistic that my muscles would warm up, loosen up, & that things would get better.

We took it slow from the beginning - my roommate Jess & I - but she had way more energy than I did, so I fell back from her somewhere around mile 8 when I insisted that I needed to do some walking; I had been planning on running 10/walking 1 for the entirety. Jess had no interest in walking because she said she felt great (which I could not relate to), so I decided I needed to intersperse some walking on my own.

Despite my disappointment at not finding my teammates at the start to run with them, I consoled myself with the idea that they would catch me at some point with the slower pace I was going. Sadly, I never saw any TWV people that I recognized around my pace, & I never warmed up to feeling better or going much faster.

The fans were great, even though only about half of them read my name correctly off of my jersey. They cheered, & Team World Vision fans were everywhere, as noted by a new friend later when I explained that they were my family on the course. Signage made me laugh & gave me more than one "power-up!" I hi-fived a Yeti at a few points on the course, Gumby fueled me with twizzlers, folks offered me beer & water, of which I took the water...

Thankfully, I did come across a father (3x Ironman) & daughter (running her 26th marathon) who were doing 10/1, so I asked if I could tag along with them; I asked what pace they were running between their walking minutes & they replied, "forward." I figured that today was not going to be the day I broke 4 hours, so I might as well have some company. Around Lake Nokomis, my former roommate Jenifer even showed up to run some distance with me! Dave, Robyn, & I ran together until mile 20, when they told me that the deal was 10/1 for the first 20 miles, but I had to try to run the last 6 straight through... so at mile twenty, I set out to run as much of the remainder as possible. Before I headed off, Robin handed me a $10 bill that she had found on the race course as a donation! I said thank you & farewell & pressed on, hurting as much as ever but feeling mentally okay.

I don't remember hitting a 'wall' necessarily at any point, but the pain wore me down more & more as I went on, & mile 24 still seemed so far from the finish. I kept running, walked bits here & there, & made new start-lines for myself with cracks in the pavement. One TWV runner, Keven, was running about the same pace as me for the last few miles, but he was in much higher spirits! I didn't feel defeated -- I knew I would finish -- but I hurt too much to really engage anyone.

Stopping was not a question or an argument in my mind, but I was ready to be done. My friend Gretchen showed up on the course to run with me at mile 25, which was a great encouragement; she was proud of me, even though I was disappointed in my inability to feel any better the whole day or run even close to my 'normal' pace. Then Danielle & Lacey joined us for a stretch before we reached the Cathedral & I headed down the shoot to the finish line. Almost there...

Finally, I made it to the finish line. I convinced myself not to think about any of the effects of what had just happened - just to be done running & walk to the tent. I knew the pain & culmination of all that had lead up to it would catch me, but 'just get to the tent.' When I did, I cried: because it had hurt, I had not felt good, I had not enjoyed what I had worked so hard for, because I could not even think about the impact this whole thing had made because I just had to survive for nearly 5 hours through pain.

At least it can only get better next time.

In retrospect, this race was so worth it. I remember exclaiming yesterday, "WHY would ANYONE run a marathon? Who thought of this & decided this would be fun?! What a horrible idea." The distance was somehow so much more brutal than 20 miles had been... but I got a glimpse of the suffering that I run to relieve. I learned that I could persevere through pain, undoubtedly because of the many many people covering this event with prayer. I wanted so deeply to have fun & feel happy, but even an environment steeped with joy could not drown out the burdensome demand of survival.  I cannot take this perspective lightly.

The marathon is over, but I'm far from finished. Every child deserves clean water. I cannot imagine expecting a child to carry the suffering of that distance, so I will take it on again that they may have JOY free of the burden of survival. Please help them if you can: http://www.teamworldvision.org/participant/kelseyrunstcm