Running with Luke
Running in November and December has been somewhat of a struggle. I've been inconsistent. My pace has fallen off. It gets dark before 5 o'clock now and the home stretch before EA and the boys get here seems to get longer. It's easier to make excuses to just stay home. Running as an outlet has just kind of been off.
I dragged myself out the door after work earlier because it had been nearly a week since I last ran. I had trudged along for about three miles when I was waiting for a crossing signal on Blakemore. As I waited, another guy came running behind me and hit the intersection just as the light changed, allowing him to not lose momentum.
I decided to see if I could keep his slightly faster pace for a bit and ran a few strides behind him. He noticed he had gained a shadow and politely asked how far I was going. I sped up to run alongside him and we chatted for a few minutes before our respective routes took us in opposite directions.
The last four miles of my run felt like one of the best that I had ran in some time. In that short time I ran with him, probably only a quarter of a mile, I locked into his pace and it carried me the rest of the way home. There was probably something mentally beneficial about having a friendly interaction with someone in the middle of a run. But I felt good. My seventh mile was my fastest mile and that is a rarity.
My short time running alongside this other runner, his name was Luke, strengthened my own run. I wouldn't normally mention his name, but Luke is one of the gospels and just happens to be a gospel in which discipleship is a major theme. Throughout Luke's gospels, the followers of Jesus come alongside their teacher in order to become more like him. The idea is that they walk and speak and act like their teacher. The payoff to that discipleship doesn't really come until Acts.
Running with Luke reinforced the notion that discipleship or being in community is incredibly vital to our lives. When we can come alongside others, learn from each other, and experience meaningful human exchange, it can change our lives in profound ways. For matters of faith, I think it is probably one of, if not the, best ways to mature in becoming more like Jesus. We follow after Jesus together and over time, we lock into a stride. We encourage one another to keep the pace and together we do better.
The implications go beyond faith. Community is essential to live and I say that as an introverted person. Simply sharing a meal with someone can be such a beneficial experience. Last night, I ate with one of our youth sponsors from church and it was good just to hang out and talk with someone.
Considering the challenges that face this country, people need to renew their commitment to the idea of community. We live very individualized lives and often forget that together we can go further. We should all find people to run alongside.