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I ran a 10km road race with my daughter last week.  To be precise, I started with my daughter, ran with her for 100 meters, watched her pull away for the next 5 minutes, and eventually, I ran a 10 km road race by myself.  She’s much more of a jack rabbit than I am so we had agreed that we would each run at our own pace and simply enjoy our own race.  It was a 5 km “out” course then a 5 km “in” course (you run to a spot, turn around and run back in).  I really only saw her around km 4 as she was on her return loop and I hadn’t gotten to the turn spot yet.  We high-fived and kept on going.  I finished about about 12 minutes after her when all the timing was settled.

As I was about 3/4 of the way through the event I found my energy waning.  I really wanted to be finished but still had about 2.5 km to go.  At a water station was an event volunteer there to serve fluids and offer words of encouragement.  She clapped her hands as I ran by her, whistled, and shouted out “way to go, you’re looking good, keep it up”.  I think she meant to encourage me and I understood her words.  But to be honest with you, I really wasn’t all that encouraged.  It didn’t work.

When you are out on a 10km race running by yourself you have plenty of time to think.  I realized that I didn’t want words or hand waves from the side.  What I really wanted was someone to come along side me, run with me, even if it is at a turtle-pace, and let me know that together we can finish this thing we have started.

It offered me a spiritual truth that I hadn’t really thought deeply enough about in life.  People want people to come along side them in life to walk/run with them (at whatever pace) to let them know that they CAN finish this thing they started.  Words and waves from the distance, as well intended as they might be, are really not as valuable as you first think.

I am a pastor by calling and training.  I work with people.  At the deepest level, I walk/run with people (at whatever pace) to help them finish what they have started.   I think I have the gift of encouragement.   I am most effective (and personally energized) when I am in league with another.  Keep running Jamey, keep running.