‘It is finished.’ May those words land on your bones for the nights when fear tells you the cross was a beginning & you must finish grace.
I ran the Tough Mudder two weeks ago. 11.5 miles and 20 obstacles. There was not a moment during those 4 hours that I was not having a complete blast. I did zero training for this event and was fully (mentally) prepped for the hurt I was getting myself into. About 2 miles into the run, I’m sucking pretty bad. I can barely breathe and I have no clue why the leaders of the pack are sprinting when we still have 9.5 miles to go. But whatever, it’s cool. Pretty soon though, I have to start walking. I feel like my lungs are about to explode. So I’m chilling in the back with those who aren’t marathon runners getting kicked in the face with dust. And it stays that way for the rest of the event. Like I said, I didn’t train for this so I sure as heck had no room to complain or wimp out cause that’s lame. But I was definitely hurting.
Throughout the race people took one of two stances on me. Either they cheered me on no matter what, or judged me and asked why I didn’t get in shape for this and so on—that maybe if I had “simply run a couple of miles every day like they did” that I wouldn’t be at the back. I just smiled and teased back, trying not to let the negativity ruin my time and appreciated those willing to support me at whatever pace I was going.
We finally make it through the last obstacle and I sprint toward the finish line absolutely elated to have earned my orange headband and Dos Equis. We take group pictures and eat protein bars and try to finish our beers without vomiting, it was all fun and good.
Eventually I asked my carpool group if we could take off. The Area Director of Scottsdale Young Life turns around to agree and then says, “yeah lets head over here first,” as she grabs my hand and takes me toward the medical tent. Confused and resisting, the paramedics catch a glimpse of me and usher me into the tent right away.
They sit me down and start asking me questions and taking my blood pressure and pulse ox. They hook up a nebulizer and ask me to start breathing through this contraption.
I had been having an asthma attack…for 3.5 hours. My face was white and my lips were a nice color of slight blue. Now I understood why I was hurting so badly. It was terrifying. The Albuterol in the nebulizer results in tachycardia which, for me, resulted in a panic attack…followed shortly by vomiting in front of everyone. After which, I felt just fine. Yay.
I did the breathing treatment for 45 minutes and apparently I would only take the mouth piece out to apologize to everyone for the inconvenience (as told to me by my carpool group.) My teammates who witnessed it all finally understood why I had been at the back of the group throughout the race. Some came up and apologized for giving me crap, some thought I was a badass for finishing, some just looked at me with sympathy, and others had to take off so they could shower up.
This whole experience has taught me a lot.
We are all running a tough freaking mudder, a seemingly never-ending race with obstacle after obstacle. Some people fly over the same obstacles that take me much longer to conquer and vice versa. We can take a couple of different stances on our way to the finish line. We can see the people next to us as teammates and cheer them on, or we can see them as competition and/or bring them down. The point being, we all have some sort of asthma taking our breath away and making things much more difficult. We can choose to run with and beside our teammates or not. But ultimately we have to understand that sometimes people are going to care about the fact that you have asthma, and some people…aren’t. And maybe, if we’re really cool, we won’t take it personally when the person running next to us doesn’t give us a hand during our asthma attack because maybe, just maybe, they’re having one too.
We are all in the same race. If we can’t help the person next to us, the least we can do is not hurt them.
I wonder how they could yell Barabbas instead of Jesus.
I wonder how they sang Hosanna and days later, Crucify him.
I wonder how Pontius could wash his hands of it, as though a dirty conscience could be so easily cleaned.
But — I am Barabbas, sinner set free.
I yell Crucify him as I sing praises with ease.
I am Pontius, who turned a blind eye to glory.
And yet, so Christ still died for me.
Still he died, where I should be,
a perfect love on that tree.
All that I was, was nailed to the cross, and all that I am, ascended from the tomb.
But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.
A bit of heartache and magnificent weather makes for a really blessed day.
You are Lord.