The black and white ball was skirting across the field. I had the angle, and I was racing for it. I was flying. As I planted my right foot and swung my left leg to make the cross the field kick. . . .
“Oww! Randy, wake up! Stop your stupid soccer game!” Wendy cried as she kicked me back.
Obviously, this wasn’t my first soccer dream.
From my earliest days, I remember loving to run. Playing chase until my side ached. (I never did find out what caused that. But when the pain subsided, we would all be running again.)
Playing baseball and stealing bases.
Touch football. (two below)
Then, in college, soccer.
My favorite because I was always running.
I wasn’t always the fastest, but I could always compete.
Not distance running, though.
I was more of a dash man.
So when I was sixty, I played in a student faculty flag football game, and I hurt so bad and so long after that I made Wendy promise to never let me do that again.
But, I still think the running is the most joyous expression of life’s movements.
Of course, my knees hurt now, as arthritis sets into the various joints of my body, my ankles don’t feel that strong, I hobble for a few steps every time I get out of my van, when I get up during the night, I think about the steps I am taking.
Yes. I am 70.
Last Sunday, our Sunday School class had a fellowship lunch after church in the gym.
Wendy and I sat with the youngest couple in our class, and their three boys, 4, 6, and 8 years old.
We talked. The boys played.
At the end, I said to the boys, “I think we need to race around the gym. You want to?”
I don’t know why I thought I could do this, the words just came out.
I had on cowboy boots.
So, I said “Go!” let the three get started, and I took off.
Now, this is a little hard to explain, but this is what happened.
I ran. I wasn’t watching the boys as I passed them. I wasn’t aware of anything except the fact that I was running. I think I was running fast.
It felt effortless, as if I were being carried along.
The oldest boy cut across the gym so he could beat me.
He was smiling and grabbed my hand.
We had only gone halfway around the gym, but I wasn’t even winded.
The six year old came up behind me, hugged me, and said, “Mama, Mama, I didn’t know old men could run so fast!”
I thought,”This is gonna hurt tomorrow.”
BUT IT DID NOT.
At least, not any more than usual.
This is what I think.
My running joy was given to me by my Creator.
“When I run I feel His pleasure.” (Eric Liddell)
My life will not end when this tired old body lays down for the last time.
We hear that there is a new one waiting for us, when we beat death at its evil game.
If I get there before you do, when you get there, you will probably see me as I run past, laughing with joy.
I’m sure, I won’t be the only one.
Holler at me, and I will stop. We’ll talk, and I will have some things and places and people I will want to show you.
But, I may challenge you to a short race.
Did I tell you that I love to run?
“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” 2 Chronicles16:9
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:13-14
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31