Friday, February 4, 2011

What do you think is possible?

I went to the doctor yesterday. Routine appointment to try to find a good generalist who can deal with physicals, routine prescriptions, and those goofy health forms that require a doctor's signature. Seems like every time I find one, he transfers to Tallahassee or something. I don't think it's about me, but I'm starting to wonder. This is the fourth doc in seven years, so we'll see how long he hangs around.

But that's not what I'm writing about. During the "I'll interview you and make sure you're a good doc and you'll interview me and see if I'm a train wreck" part of the appointment, he asked me what I do for exercise.

This is a difficult question for me because during the summers I do a lot of mountain biking, canoeing, hiking. During the fall I climb trees and do a lot of archery and do anaerobic heart exercises every time a deer walks by. In the winter, I sit in my recliner a lot and think about going snowshoeing, but it's so terribly cold. Sometimes I do go snowshoeing, and other times I get my heart into the myocardial infarction zone by shoveling my driveway. But you and I both know the doctor doesn't want to hear all this, so I just say, "I do some running." And this is true. This year, knowing the siren song of my recliner all too well, I decided I would try hard to run at least three times a week on the treadmills at the YMCA. So I've been doing that, even though I hate treadmills and running indoors is weird and I'd rather be climbing trees or mountain biking. I mumble a few details about a couple miles, a couple times a week, sometimes more, at the Y, dadadadada ...

The doc's face lit up like a laser beam. "Me, too!" he almost shouted. "I started running a year ago, kind of like you, because you look at runners and they're all so FIT, you know, and you think, 'I want to be fit,' so you start running, and I did and I was doing a couple miles a couple times a week and then I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon and I told everyone in the office I was going to do it and I set the packet they sent me on my dresser so I saw it every morning so I did the whole 'train for eighteen weeks and you, too, can run a marathon' thing and then in October I ran it and I finished and I did it in under four hours, which was my goal, and it was so cool, oh, and the registration opened up like two days ago and you HAVE to do it."

I don't think they teach about run-on sentences in medical school.

There has never been any part of me that wants to run a marathon. I've always been repulsed by the idea of running twenty-six miles non-stop. Besides, if you know the story, the first guy that did it ran from Athens to Marathon, collapsed in the arms of the city elders, whispered, "Rejoice! We conquer!" (which sounds even cooler in Greek than in English) and then he DIED. Why would I want to run a marathon?

The thing is -- and there's really no way around this for me -- is even if I don't ever run a marathon (which I don't think I will) my world got rocked yesterday. The idea that someone who ran about as much as me could register for the TC Marathon and then run it a few short months later is more than what I thought was possible.

So I have to wonder. Have I been selling myself short? Have I been saying, "Oh, I'm forty-four" -- the exact age of my new doctor, by the way -- "and I have to take it easy. It's hard to get in shape. It would take years and more hours than I'm willing to invest and besides, I could never do that anyway, I'm not much of a runner." Have I been taking the coward's way out and not pushing myself to grab all that is possible?

Then I start to think, this is not just about running. What other areas of my life have I been selling myself short? What is possible, but I have been unwilling to try?

I think much of the time we miss God's call because what God calls us to do doesn't sound possible, and we just laugh it off. I wanted to write a book for years and years, and I thought writing a book was kind of like training for a marathon -- it would take me decades. But then one November I just started writing, and I wrote every day. About the time I finished the manuscript, God sent a "chance" conversation with the husband of the acquisitions editor of Augsburg Fortress Publishing (who I said I didn't want to write for, by the way) and voila! I wrote a book and it got published.

"For nothing will be impossible with God." (Luke 1:37) Maybe that thing you think is impossible is exactly what God is calling you to grab for.

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