Monday, May 18, 2009

Where is Superman?

My son loved Superman when he was younger. So much in fact that when he turned three several years ago we decided to have a Superman theme party. Let me tell you it was something. We scoured the Internet until we found almost every Superman item we could. Hats, a tablecloth, cups, cake, you name it we bought it. The heck with the college fund.

At the party it was exciting to have the plan come together. All the kids showed up along with the parents. Each had arms full of stuff that I knew I would be tripping over later. His favorite gifts were a pair of bright blue Superman underroos and a cape that a neighbor gave him. I loved watching him run around yelling, “I’m Superman! I’m Superman!”

A few days later we went for a walk. Conner of course insisted on wearing his underoos outfit and a pair of tall black rubber boots. I walked behind him as we traveled through the neighborhood and thought about this fascination that most young children have with superheroes. I can remember being that way myself at one time.

To Conner, he was Superman when he had that costume on. He could do anything! He was faster than a runny nose and able to leap large puddles in a single hop. Unlike most of us adults, he had yet to discover the limits of life. Every day was a learning experience and every moment an adventure to be had. Heck, as the picture shows, he did not even care about walking around the neighborhood in his underwear : )

Conner is eleven now and things are not as easy. Dreams of superpowers are gradually being replaced with the reality of life and of middle school. No more superman or superheroes. His cape has been replaced with the latest brand of clothing that all the other tweens are wearing. His rubber boots replaced with some brand of funky shoes that I have never seen before. Time spent text messaging, hanging out with friends, and swapping notes with girls is gradually replacing the simple joys we used to share together as father and son. Such is the way of life.

I am excited to see him growing up and yet at the same time I am sad to know the kryptonite we all experience as we grow up is waiting for him sometime in the future. My only hope is that his church, his Troop, his mother and I are indeed preparing him with the strength and wisdom to conquer the battles that are to come.

What about you? What are you doing to prepare your family and yourself for the battles of this world? Are you ready?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lessons from running part 2

I ran the OKC marathon last week and the conditions were challenging to put it mildly. The wind was blowing at 30+ MPH with high humidity and warm temperatures. As recently as two weeks ago, I was anticipating a finish time that would beat my previous marathon by at least ten minutes. Gosh was I wrong and I ended up finishing 45 minutes behind my goal. I knew I had very little chance of meeting my goal within just a few miles of the run since the feedback from my pace and body was telling me I was going to fail.

By mile 13 when the run turned south into the wind, my mental capacity to keep running was nearing an end. By mile 15, my calves were cramping and every step was a struggle. My goal at this point was to at least be running each time I passed the spectator areas for the benefit of my friends that were watching and for my family. It was suddenly very important to me that my wife and son did not see me walking (failing). I really knew I was going slow when while running next to a cemetery around mile 20 I heard a women say, “On your left” so she could pass me. The pass was inspiring and demoralizing at the same time since she happened to be in a wheelchair.

I was just ready to be done by the time I ran over the finish line five + hours from the start.

Monday morning I was still reeling from the experience and knew at work I would get lots of questions about how the run had gone for me. I arrived at the same time as an employee who is handicapped. Just moving from his car to the front door and then to his wheel chair is a struggle.

As I held the door open for him, I thought how pitiful of a person I am to even for a moment not appreciate the wonderful gift of health I have been given that would allow me to finish a marathon. Who cares about the time? I did finish!

The Lord gave me an important lesson in this moment to appreciate the life of health and happiness he has given me. Yes there will be pain in the steps of my future but I will do my best to move forward with a smile on my face.

What a about you? Do you struggle to sometimes see the positive blessings in your life? How do you get challenges in perspective?