Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ruining Hell

During this most wonderful time of the year, I continue to wonder different organizations have been
kind enough to let us share their message or why media covers the story of a guy known for putting one foot in front of the other. Last night I helped speak at a running event for marathon kids since I'm one of their parent ambassadors. Kiana and I are currently on the cover of for fundraising (but if you're going to donate, donate to my fundraising efforts for the marathon since tax things are just around the corner and I'm just a few hundred shy of rasining 5k for Kiana's 5k But the thing that I am often curious about far more than that is how the universe has been kind enough to give me such good people as friends... that actually was not much of a mystery to solve because it became obvious that with who I am only the absolute best people could put up with me.

I'm a man usually made out of discipline in many ways and obviously the fact that I speak in public events knows that I know when to reel it in in front of a crowd but there are times in person and sometimes on social media where I can't resist. I fixed my own toilet for the first time entirely by myself recently, without the instructions, or youtube, or anyone's guidance because that's the definition of manly to not get anyone's help ;). A couple of weeks later it's still working but my first through both out loud and shared and tweeted etc was, I just fixed my toilet... shit's about to go down. So because I'm also known for that kind of silliness... and for this type of blog, sometimes people share things with me figuring the guy will give them if nothing else an honest opinion (I take that as the highest compliment when people say they ask me what I think because they know I'm one of those friends who will give it to them straight about what I think about their girlfriends, job decisions, etc). Still when a friend not too long ago was making some inappropriate
remarks about their inappropriate actions, I couldn't help but heckle them, "You know you're going to hell for that right?" They wittily responded with "Some of my favorite people are going to hell." I returned with the banter of "Some people you really don't like are going to hell too." Without missing a beat she said, "You just ruined hell for me!"

Our communal activities towards the end of the year from Thanksgiving to Black Friday to Christmas to New Year's often says much about us. Our shopping habits sometimes show our affection or practicality, at other times it show off our diving into a bit of materialism where black Friday is for some of us the day after we say how grateful for what we have we go crazy for wild deals. In extreme but too common case , we spend money we don't have for things we don't need to impress people we don't like. While the calories are probably more than anyone could burn off, I do love how much the getting together happens, the holiday
parties that are classy, the ones that seem entirely appropriate for trying to keep pace around the celebration of the First Noel with ugly sweaters and red dress run (speaking of witty, I loved when a friend said to me when I said I didn't have an ugly sweater that I could just bring a sweater since I brought the ugly with me). With the red dress run (it was a charity race for all of you who thinks this means that the sexuality found in the left temporal lobe finally got affected), I thought people would be proud of me for wearing matching shoes but instead I'm getting their therapy bills forwarded to me for the nightmares it's causing in people. But with all of these things, the meals, the goofiness, for me the events are just the excuse and getting to see good people relaxing is the true reason. 

And still I keep running but with my first duathlon the day after the dress run, I realized I'm pretty happy with my running finally perhaps because I finally figured out what (I hope) I've gotten right about introducing Kiana to running. You see me for me running was taken away as purely fun relatively early in life. I got spanked for running in 3rd grade in the hall and that's what landed me on the track team (I'd get spanked again for running in the hall in 7th grade so I don't know what your thoughts are on corporal punishment since I'm still running but then again, I'm not doing it in the hall anymore). But in the sports I played in conditioning was used as a punishment for getting things wrong (you made this mistake go run extra, I'm not quite sure why we don't say hey you got that right, practice getting it right). So an activity that we all try to do shortly after we start walking somehow gets a very negative association too early which for me was a spanking and disappointment if I didn't win. It's an association I've never quite completely shaken. 
So to share more briefly what I said with the marathon kids group last night, I've tried to get Kiana to embrace the love of running for many reasons. One is that it's something we can do together, two it's an activity that while I'm part of a running team, no matter where I'm at or how much medical bills or races are, you really do only need the basics to do. I thought I had arrived at "teaching it right to her" back when training her for her first 5k on a day she was supposed to do 2 miles (the longest I was going to have her do) she ignored my "coaching" and did 2.5 miles that day. Then again, I thought we had arrived when did a 5k side by side but while she smiled at the running and the medal but soon after she was playing with the hula hoop. I thought we had arrived when in her second 5k she had won her age group by 7 minutes! But it turns out that she was and is still teaching me because if there's any moment from all her runs that I can think of when I'm fairly clear that we've arrived, it's when at the end of the latest trail of lights run, when she had run the fastest 2 miles she'd ever ran, she cried because she couldn't get back out and run it again (we'd run again the next day). She didn't care about her time, there was no race, no medal, she just wanted to keep going because it was fun. I don't know when my fastest running times are behind me but that comes for all of us... and I don't know if Kiana will always keep the love of running but I am glad she has it at least for now for it's own sake. Because I hope she keeps the perspective on running and exercise that she does on life, love, relationships. I hope her perspective is not the one we often ascribe to movies or tv shows that they are made or broken by the endings but that it's more like a good concert or a good song, you're not just worried about the last note, you want to try to enjoy each and every beat, every step of the dance.

So I am going to keep signing up for new adventures. I tried that duathlon at Circuit of the Americas with team Radioactive which was the toughest short course I've ever ran and I have no idea how those drivers go around those curves at the speeds they do cause I was pretty scared and I was barely breaking 30 miles an hour. (I am actually not quite sure what it says about me that I am more comfortable in ugly sweaters and red dresses than I am in the tight fitting duathlon triathlon outfits).
I took10th overall and 2nd in my age group and I got appropriately whooped. But my annual most important event of the year hung up on Christmas eve ornament is almost ready but it rhymes with that. There there running events out there, all of which I would have been in the top 3 spots, some of which I would have won but even knowing that I'd do the duathlon again, still believing that if you sign up for some challenges that the ones you don't sign up for are easier to deal with. 

We all have faults and inadequacies. In the categories of people, I probably fit in with more of my friends are the ones with high goals that don't recognize their strengths and are sometimes very focused on their weakness but we keep trying. One of the ladies from my church said she would run her first race, a 2 miler if I'd sign up for some things I need to work on. I accepted that deal and now she's looking for a 5k to make me work harder. I would worry if I became in denial of where I could improve and just wanted to become idle in past good stuff. I am incredibly grateful to be standing at the strongest point I ever have at the end of a year but that was not true in 2010, or 11 or 12 or 13 even if they were each a little stronger than the one before. 

While I go to church, I'm not sure I know what hell is but just like my friend I wonder if heaven or hell would be ruined if the people I liked were missing or the people I didn't like were present (that may say why we think one is easier to get into than the other). But if you'll allow me a simple expression of my religious beliefs, I don't think it's a place where people burn forever. If the Guy who runs the universe created a place where people suffer longer than they could cause suffering on anyone (since that would be eternity), in simple frankness, that's not someone I could love or would want to spend much time with. But our sense of justice comes from somewhere and we hope somewhere the unfairness of this life is punished or rewarded. But perhaps, as people reach out to celebrate Christmas or Hannukah or festivus, one of the things they  have in common is a getting together to celebrate the human connection, that the heaven we feel we get sent to is when we're with each other. It is perhaps why we fear death so much and want to believe or embrace eternal life because with people you care about, no joint time could be enough and you wish the separate ones would be shorter.  While life can get in the way and is not controllable people, to me the people who are the most heavenly people are the ones who are working on it in the here and now and not just waiting till after life. I loved this weekend because in my house or bars or running events I literally saw people from the vast majority of aspects of my life.

Still there are certainly times over the last few years, big events where life felt like hell. Hospital stays, ambulance rides, brain surgeries custody hearing, divorce issues, work problems, financial and heck even during some of the athletic training.  In some of those I reached out for help; sometimes the right moment was when I was reaching for someone and they showed me to how to step for myself. In others, the universe was kind enough where I had stubborn friends who literally showed up at my doorstep and got as close as humanly possible to leading this lion to water and making him drink. And I think them doing so helped me incredibly to put out of those infernos. So they helped take me out or at least through many of those hells and if anyone wanted me there, I thank those angels for ruining hell for them.

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