Not than everyone has been waiting for my return. There is plenty of good stuff to read out there. I’ve been checking all of your blogs regularly, and everyone seems very inspired. I’m not sure why my soul has been rather quiet over the last few weeks. It is not disturbing to me, just interesting. But instead of trying force something into this space, I elected to just let myself be quiet. It has been good just to wander in peace. I love wandering.
So let me get you up to speed a bit. The main thing I have going on in my life right now other than just the regular work and family stuff is my Ironman training. The race for which I am training is the Arizona Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.4 mile run) on April 13 in Phoenix. My good friend Bill is competing with me and we are in the throws of a 26 week training plan. Our plans are slightly different and were each self designed, taking here and there from some of the standard plans that are out there. My progress down that road has been very good. I am regularly swimming 2 miles at a time and increasing my speed. My long run is up to 15 miles. My long ride is at about 60 miles. I will be pushing the ride distance to near 100 miles over the next few weeks and the run to 20 miles. I have to balance the training distance with the recovery time for covering that distance. Going too long in training can actually be detrimental to your training if it takes away a big chunk of future training time due to recovery time or injury.
The most exciting part of my Ironman quest is that I have decided to invest in a true triathlon bike (click on the picture for a good look). It is different than a standard road bike in the frame setup and positioning on the bike. I won’t bore you with other details of the specifics. But suffice it to say that it will be more comfortable and less of an energy expenditure than using a converted road bike (a road bike converted to the tri bike positioning) which is what I have been using to this point. So now that I have made that investment, I am in this triathlon thing for the long haul. Which is good because it is one thing that I truly love. I have doing it for three years, and this will be my first attempt at an Ironman. And I love pursuing it. I love training and pushing farther. I love eating right to maximize my performance. I love the equipment. I love the fact that it consumes me. I love the fact that I meet God there. I love it. So much that I consider myself a triathlete and then a physician. I love it.
So now to the more inspirational thing I want to bring. There are three sets of things that have come my way over the last year that have greatly impacted me. They are in pairs oddly enough. And they are so perfect that I have to believe that it has been God invading my space.
The first is a combination of Breakthrough, a spiritual and personal growth course, in which I participated in early 2007 and the book, The Way of The Wild Heart. These two things helped me take a step back from who I was and really examine what was inside of me. After going through the pain of that honest self examination I was able to change the direction of some things in my life, mainly the picture that I had of God as a cosmic lawgiver ready to zap my butt with lightning and forever hanging the fear of hell over my head. Understanding the grace and love and relationship he offers me has brought about radical healing and peace in my soul that I didn’t know I was missing or even needed.
The second pairing is a change in my job and my quest to complete an Ironman. I had become completely disillusioned with my old position for a number of reasons, some of which I didn’t understand. But I very strongly sensed that it was time for a change. So I trusted that and accepted my current position as a hospitalist. Basically that means I provide hospital care only. No clinic. No office. Just hospital rounds. The thing that is so amazing about it is the schedule, which when I accepted the position I had no idea that it would work out this cleanly. I basically work 50% of the year. Those days that I am working are very busy and hectic, but the time that I have off is just awesome. I allows me to put in the hours training that I need to be putting into it. And it allows me to say that I am a triathlete and then a physician. I strongly feel that God again brought these things together. At Breakthrough I felt that God was along side me, maybe even calling me to do complete this Ironman quest. It is the adventure that he is taking me on. Read The Way of The Wild Heart in order to really understand what this means. And one of the great things about this pairing is that I had to trust God on what he was doing and follow him down this path that didn’t all seem to make sense to me at the time. But now that I did, I can see how perfectly it all fits together. To those of you reading who aren’t sure that God works in the intricacies of our lives, this is my own personal anecdotal evidence.
The third pairing is one that I have just recently realized. I am currently reading a book that my dad gave me for Christmas called A Failure of Nerve, by Edwin Freidman. And it is probably one of the best books that I have ever read. I have added it to my stack of really important books (Mere Christianity, Divine Nobodies, The Way of the Wild Heart, Velvet Elvis, Sex God, Into The Wild, The Great Divorce, Deep Survival). This is paired with our new church, Wheatland Mission. Actually, more specifically it is paired with leaving our old church. We wrestled with it for months, actually a little over a year. One particular Sunday we broke. It just wasn’t going to work to be at that place any longer. We were dying. So we left and came to Wheatland which has been exactly what we needed and continue to need. But we have been judged harshly for leaving by those who remain. Honestly it felt a little like what I imagine leaving a cult to be like. This book, A Failure of Nerve, has come to me at just the right time for me to be able to very clearly see what was going wrong there and why it won’t get any better unless God himself radically intervenes. So I feel very clearly now and am reassured that in leaving we did the thing that we needed to do, the thing that God was leading us to do. And we didn’t completely understand it at the time, but he has helped us to see it more clearly as we have had space and time to process it. And he brought me this little gem of a book to help clear it up for me.
So am grateful for a God whom I now know as a father who fiercely pursues me with grace and love and who I believe is interested in the details (although not to be used by me as a tool for “blessings in disguise” as Derek Webb phrases it in Wedding Dress) of my life and who wants nothing more than a relationship with me. He has worked in my life in 2007 in a way that I have never known prior. Probably because I wasn’t listening.