Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Bend In The Road

My friend Enrique, running his first ever marathon at the California International Marathon (CIM), was starting to get utterly exhausted when he saw Mile Marker #26. Excited to finish and thinking that that was the finish, he began to sprint all out to the marker. What he didn’t realize was that the finish line was actually 285 yards more around the bend! The finish at the CIM was a straightaway of about one and a half miles, then two hairpin left turns. With the benefit of hind sight, he said that explained why there was hardly any fanfare at Mile 26. But he was enthralled to see the cheering crowd and the celebration when he made the turn at the bend.

Highland Road in Danville, CA. Picture taken
coming down from my grief retreat at San Damiano.
How interesting to see that sometimes our journey in life happens in a similar way. We go through life on a
straight path then suddenly there’s a bend in the road. Sometimes these turning points in our journey are not of our own choosing, but how we deal with them can define who we are. I met Joan at a grief weekend retreat. She was happily married for 30+ years when she lost her husband to suicide. She agonized in grief and guilt for quite some time, but after a few years she decided to go back to school even at her old age to become a grief counselor.

The road of life is never easy. Just when you think that yours is really hard, then you learn of somebody’s that’s even more tragic. In that same weekend, I met different people whose lives have been greatly affected by a death of a loved one. But one thing I saw common in all of them was that at the bend in the road, they hung on to their faith in God. They trust that that same bend in the road will actually lead them to God. I remember my son’s coach in track and field when he was running the curve in the 200 meters telling him to lean in. He said to counteract the force that pushes you outward when you run the curve, you need to lean into the curve. Trust those bends on the road are God’s, and then lean on Him.

This Sunday, on September 29th, I will be running the Half Moon Bay International Marathon (HMBIM). Unlike the CIM, the Half Moon Bay Marathon has a hilly finish. It also has a dozen of hairpin twists and turns! But I’m actually thankful for those bends on the road up and down the hilly course because they allow for an easier and safer running. Imagine if you want to avoid the turns and just go straight up the hill, you would have to negotiate an extremely steep slope!

The HMBIM will be #33 on the road to my “50 x 50” goal. Fifty marathons by the time I turn 50 years old. I will also run this race holding a pink rose in honor of my wife; and I will also be running this race bringing with me your prayer requests. You can post your special intentions on this website, send it via email, or post in on my Facebook page You can also show your support by running with me or liking my FB page to hopefully reach other people who need prayers. I hope to run into each one of you one day; till then Godspeed!

P.S. Remember my friend Enrique who ran the CIM? I’m happy that, in spite of running on empty, he dug deep and sprinted those last two turns to see what lies beyond the bend – a glorious finish!