Sunday, January 24, 2010

Downhill Momentum

Today it happened. Rather, I should say it happened again, because it is nothing new. A nice, plump hill greeted me on my run this morning. Posh communities dotted the sidewalk, fortified by enough fencing to keep all the pure-bred poodles and marble counter-tops of the known world inside. Brave mailboxes rested on the sidelines on testy 40 degree angles. The hill arcs endlessly upward, navigating far from the flat surface under my feet. It seemed to venture into the clouds taking every attached mailbox with it. "Eh, I can just take detour route outta this one!"...I hear myself think. "No need to go climbing up something just because it shows up on the road in front of you." I start to reassure myself to no avail. Something in my core yells "I WANT YOU!!!!!!!! I WANT YOU!!!!! I WANT YOU SOOOO BADLY!!!!!" and I suddenly I can't hear anything that my mind was trying to persuade me to do (or was simply whining about; your pick.) and I started up that puppy.

The climb was everything I dreamed it would be: an all-you-can-eat-buffet of my shins forever hate me; but I didn't regret one step I took. When I reached the top, sweet victory and instant relief for my shins was found there, and now, I had the downhill to look forward to.

Downhills are great, more and more speed is gathered until you are flying down, in a decent to Flat Surface Land (a utopia-like place where everyone is happy and people can build stable architecture). The flight down is fleeting too. Unlike the challenge of the incline, which tests patience as well as gravity, going down is relatively easy.

Today the hill taught me more than to just "persevere" or "this too shall pass"; two lessons which I can constantly use a review on. There is nothing decidedly wrong about a hill or any aspect of topography for any matter that I can see, but an incline such as this hill resembles any painful trial faced. Things that I definately want to avoid.

First, the thing got in my path when I was simply minding my own business and refuses to move. Like the challenges in life, great or small, I don't request an incline, but I often find myself in front of them nonetheless. Sometimes after lusting and pursuing something that I know will cause future pain or damage, I hide from the outcome but I must deal with the problem eventually. Often I am just surprised by an event in life that I never saw coming. Either route that's taken, the blockade will faithfully be there waiting. The choice remains: Deal with what lies before me, or save it for another day.

The easy way out sickens me when I hear about it. EeeeeeezzzzzEEEE...I despise it, but being the classic hypocrite, I use the power of avoidance whenever possible. The hill doesn't take hypocrisy. Only cash here. What are you made of? Pay with that.

Before I had started running this morning, my heart was heavy with the junk I try to cram into it. Whenever I make a decision that I know is displeasing to God, one that just does not sit right with my spirit, I try to find every method of justification on the market. Excuses and reasons galore, "Yeah, but that's why I did that." Well, there is only right and wrong, Truth and lies. My pick. No Burger King slogan so I can have it my way.

Leaving for the start of the run, I pushed my cares and excuses back where I like them to stay; left in the dust behind me in Flat Surface Land. However, when I reached that hill, I had to deal with all that I had piled up; God wanted to take the trash out and I wanted to do it later.

There are many roads, roads to "save it for later" that avoid the hills of "deal with this". It's easy to go around the hill; step aside and press on, but soon enough, another hill says hello. No, I am not a procrastinator, but I am the master of justification. Justification is not an art to be proud of. The dictionary definition says it is "a reason, fact, circumstance, or explanation that justifies or defends". Well, if that's the case, this isn't my department. Only One is capable of justifying my wrongs. Jesus payed this price with His own blood. Nothing I can try to do or say covers over my wrongs, but when God wants to deal with something that I'm avoiding or defending, I should let Him have it. Excuses weighs tons, but they need not be in the carry-on. God wants to ease the load, even when I have trouble parting with my excuse collection.

The hill is difficult and often painful to climb, and so is dealing with the explanations I've made. When I am greeted by a reminder to deal with my pile of home-grown "it's alright" excuses, I should be overjoyed. Once the climb is over overwhelming relief can be found; confessing the wrongs I've done does the same. Once past the struggle, breathe deeply, the downhill momentum is left to look forward to. My dad has the best mindset for viewing the next challenge. As he put it, "Every trial we face and pass is a precious treasure." Run easy, the hill is your best friend.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." -James 1:2-3