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Archive for April, 2013

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What is killing you?

No, I didn’t just call Neil Arter a monkey, but if I had, it would have been a complement, for I have been imitating him in some ways for a while now.

As I’ve said before, it was Neil and his posse that coerced, if not forced, me to participate in my first ever OKC Memorial event three years and four races ago. I quickly caught the bug, and have done a few more events since then. Mostly, I’ve tried to just be more active.

Yesterday was my 4th time in this specific event, and I was not alone. After completing it with my family, some of us walking, and others running like the wind, it was great to reflect on something Little Frau had said to me in the car much earlier that morning as the six of us headed toward Downtown OKC: “This is your deal”. She was right, but it was great to have some with me, both those who had been coerced, and those who were becoming fellow imitators.

As we arrived at church later that morning, the lesson was entitled “Monkey see, Monkey do”, and was all about becoming imitators, and encouragers.

Ephesians 4:1-3: Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

Ephesians 5:1-2: Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Philippians 2:1-4: Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

I don’t have it all figured out. I need to be better about taking care of my health, both in level of activity, and in what I consume. I need to be a more diligent student of the Word. I need to be better about taking care of things, whether it be my lawn, my car, what I say, or otherwise. And, I need to let my kids (and others) see me doing it. Hopefully they will be encouraged to imitate the same.

The first time I participated in this Memorial event, there were two of us. By the next time, there were still just two. Two times two is four. By the third time, there were four of us running. Four times four is sixteen. This time around, there were five of us running. Five times sixteen is eighty. Fourscore, indeed.

Four. Score. Yes, I think we did. We have the medals, muscle aches, and memories to prove it. I hope we continue to run to remember. And to imitate, for whatever is killing us, we can help each other by word and deed.

Just like Neil does. Monkey see, Monkey do. Yes, I just called myself a monkey.

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It has been a week filled with headlines. At times alarming, and in other moments surreal, it seemed as if we could not stop shaking from the events going on all around us.

In the middle of it all, there were the earthquakes. I believe I counted 21 or more quakes between a 2.0 and. 4.3 on the Richter Scale that hit within 30 miles of home over the past several days. Thankfully, there were no injuries, nor was there any damage, to those close to us as all the shaking was occurring.

Then, there was the quake that was not really a quake at all. Measuring a “mere” 2.1 on the scale, the force that shook the small town of West, Texas (pronounced “Vest” by those who hold it close) was shocking and sad. And yet, it occurred through no fault of their own.

You see, West does not lie on a fault line. The town contained a fertilizer factory, and this measured quake was caused by a terrible fire and subsequent blast. While a seemingly small number were killed, lost, or injured, no number is so small as to not hurt deeply when things like this happen.

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Oklahoma City is no stranger to this type of earth jarring loss. Some eighteen short years ago, a coward and a fertilizer bomb took 168 people away in a heartbeat, and left thousands of others to recover, and to remember. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we do just that.

Matthew 10:28-31: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

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“Those who kill” were present this week in Boston. The phrase “You can run, but you can’t hide” can certainly be said for each of us, but thankfully for those who do evil as well. We run the race set before us, but have no promise of safety or immunity from the broken aspects of humanity. But we run, undeterred, nonetheless. To do anything less would be to shortchange ourselves of the experience of living, and would be to let the cowards and the bullies win. They can run, or attempt to do so, as well, but they cannot hide. Justice prevails, in the end. Even if not today, a Day is coming, and in that Day, we will hurt no more.

But, for today, we run. Hebrews 12:1-2: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We felt the earth move this week. Many people did. For most, it was through no fault of their own. And we will remember this week, and those it lost, as time goes by.

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We attended a funeral yesterday. Participated in, might be a better stating of that. It was a time full of sadness, singing, and celebration. I went alone, but was instantly among friends. There were tears, hugs, and kisses.

And, there were memories.

What is a memory? Something warm. Something from long ago. Something that makes you cry. Something that makes you laugh. Something precious.

The life being celebrated was that of a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. She loved to read. She loved children. And she had a favorite book, just for them.

Wifrid Gordon Mcdonald Partridge is a book about a little boy, and his friendship with a lady who has lost her memory. The teacher who befriended so many was just such a lady, and disease fled with her memory much too soon.

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But, in remembering her yesterday, even for those of us who did not know her well, the blessing of memories, how we make them, and how we cherish them, was as warm as sitting in your grandparent’s lap so many years ago with a good book. My favorite was called “Little Black a Pony”, and was about how a smaller creature, sometimes overlooked by those bigger, sleeker, and faster, used his gifts and rose up to save the day for those around him. I am sitting in a lamp lit room on Pentagon Parkway, hearing it read to me, and seeing its illustrations, even now. Please pass the tissues.

Here was hers:

As the preacher finished reading the book to us all yesterday, there was hardly a dry eye in the house hundreds strong.

The message for me? Live for today. Love every moment. Love those who are near and dear to you. Make good memories. Ignore moments that won’t. Marti would not have it any other way.

What is a memory? I think we leaned a little better yesterday, and I am thankful.

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I had a sick day today. Not a “sick day” in the vernacular of the young, as in “rad”, “cool”, or the like. No, I was sick, as in feverish, as in hard to get out of bed.

Thankfully, these days don’t come around very often. When they do, I tend to hit the couch or the recliner at some point in the day to watch some TV. Call it healthcare, if you will.

Today, I discovered that Amazon Prime carries all 7 full seasons of The West Wing, and you can watch them all for free.

I used to love The West Wing. The only problem was, we had 3 small children, and it came on at 9:00 on Wednesday night. After Bible class and baths for all, it was usually almost over, and it aired in the era before DVR’s were abundantly cheap. I made many an impatient parental misstep, back in the day, all for the sake of seeing a 5 minute snippet of the show. Clearly, I was in need of reform.

Today, I can watch it any time, and my kids won’t be sitting in the tub calling out for me. If I’d only known.

Today, watching the show, I was taken by how the issues of today were also the issues of 1998, from healthcare reform, to deficit reduction, to leadership crisis. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Speaking of leadership crisis, the family joined me in the viewing room tonight to watch Lincoln. We had not seen it yet, and each found it to be moving and insightful. My, how far things have come in the West Wing over the past 140 years, and yet, our nation still has internal strife. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I had a sick day today. Yeh, it was that good.

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