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Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'm Provoked


In 2011 my husband was running the “Marathon to Marathon” in my homeland of Iowa.  He ran 26.2 miles from the town of Storm Lake to the little town of Marathon.  He and the other runners wound their way through the beautiful Iowa landscape on county roads passing farm homes, corn fields and an occasional cattle yard.  He saw the best part of Buena Vista County, which by the way, if you don’t pronounce it as “Byoo-na” we will know you’re not a native Iowegian.  When Mike runs marathons I do my best to encourage him.  I drop him off at the start line and watch him take off with the sea of people.  Then I begin to drive ahead on the course finding different intervals, like three miles out, then seven and so on. I do this so that when I see him coming down the street I can slap his hand, tell him I love him and how proud I am.  I do this at different points until it’s time to head for the finish line to watch him cross that line of accomplishment. 

While Mike was running this country race, I was waiting at the 22 mile mark with a small group of spectators. (yes, this is a spectator sport)  One of the spectators was a man who was agitated and pacing.  He was waiting for his wife to come through and kept looking at his watch. I asked him if he was a runner and he said no, I’d rather ride my motorcycle.  Finally a young beautiful woman with a body to be envied, came into sight and as she neared the corner where we were standing, he yelled, “I didn’t pay five thousand dollars to a personal trainer for you to be this far behind”!  Did I mention this was at the TWENTY TWO MILE mark?!  Did I mention that he himself was not a picture of health and fitness?  Needless to say, I was shocked at his outburst and embarrassed for him.  It wouldn't matter to me if it took all day for my beloved to finish the race.  It doesn't really matter if he finishes at all.  What matters is that he is committed and passionate about running.  Even though I’m not a runner, I want to be part of the thing that centers him and helps him to be a better person.  Because the same dedication and passion that he puts into running, he puts into life, friendships, family and our marriage. 

Last night Mike said, "if people really knew the details of your life and how much pain you've been through, they would be amazed at who you are today".  I suppose he’s right.  The painful memories are never far from my thoughts and there are still moments when they stop me in my tracks.  But in those moments I am given a choice: I can allow the anger to move me to revengeful actions or I can feel the pain for a moment and thank God for helping me through it. 

Today as Mike and I listened to the pastor talk about how Christians should “provoke one another to do good”, I smiled inside and out.  I smiled because my husband is the kind of person who provokes me to do good things and to be a better person.  He helps me cry when I need to reminisce and talk about the past.  He listens to me talk about my dreams of becoming a professional photographer and leading seminars to encourage people who have been through what I have been through.  He does all of this humbly and asking nothing in return.  He does it because it is part of who he is. 

Mike is in training mode for his next marathon and I'm already thinking of ways to encourage him as he trains and on race day.  At some point I will look at the race course and plan the stops on the course where I will cheer him and the other runners on.  When I ask my beloved to drive me across the city on a Sunday afternoon, he waits patiently while I try to find that perfect camera angle and encourages my creativity.  We provoke one another to pursue our dreams and passions. We provoke one another....to do good.

Are you provoked?

Thanks for stopping by....

Amy Lynn Michael

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