Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lessons from a Race: Part 1: on your mark... get set.... GO!


So many people talk about it, some people try it, and even fewer people can actually do it correctly. Whole sports are dedicated to running, or a form of it, people obsess over it, and it has been used for so many different analogies... But how many people actually know about it?

Perhaps the greatest analogy we have is in some of Paul's letters in the New Testament. In his letter to the Hebrews, he talks about setting aside everything, and running the race which is before us. But perhaps the most important part about this verse is the word "patience."

I really understood exactly what Paul was talking about, and I gained some new insight into this verse. On Thursday, I decided to run a 10k, with a couple of my siblings. And if there was one thing I learned, it was patience. My instinct was to spurt ahead, pass everyone, and just run! And at first, that is exactly what I did. But then I remembered the other 9 kilometers. So I had to slow down, I had to pace myself, I had to have patience.

The importance of this can't be underestimated. Perhaps the biggest part of running or participating in anything is getting the timing correct. In your car, if the timing is off, your car either runs really horribly, or not at all. If your watch is messed up, then your whole day could be ruined.

I guess the root of what I am trying to communicate is timing. As an extension of patience, which is more waiting for the right time, I would say it also has to do with doing things when you are supposed too, and not waiting beyond that.

But what is so important about it? Why is timing such a big issue?

To understand this, there is a certain engineering principle that can be applied. It is called the Critical Path. The basic idea is you assign times to every task that is in the path until you reach your goal. You lay everything out, and the Critical Path is all the items that take the longest time, in their chronological order. Because those are important, you do everything you can to get them done on time, because if you take a week longer on the first one, then the entire project will finish a week later.

All that to say: Timing is very important. Everyone talks about it, but they don't ever really explain why... We are told to wait for things, or to hurry up, and get something over sooner. There is such emphasis placed on timing, and yet nobody really understands why...

So here's the one thing I would encourage everyone to do. Go run a race. You gain so much insight, and just the feeling of joy you feel when you come around that final turn... You just sprint to the end! You finish with a burst, everyone is cheering, and you just run!! But most of all, you can understand how life is a race. Sometimes we go fast, and sometimes we go slow. There are curves and bumps, but then there's long straight stretches. But it's really the final stretch that makes it all worthwhile. When we near the end of our life here on earth, everyone is gathered around us, and we have millions and billions of people, waiting to welcome us to our new home... Let's just hope we can all finish with a dash across the line!

Oh, and a word of advice, don't plan anything strenuous for the next few days... You'll be very stiff and sore, and won't be able to move very much... :P be continued......

~(a very stiff and sore) unclejoe

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