My path for the second time around comes once again to Ironman Arizona. The intense training and work is now over, just the racing is left, and this is a rest week leading into the race. Just enough training to keep myself loose. Just enough rest to completely heal. I want this week to be one of introspection and increasing self awareness and deeper self understanding. I do this because I love it. I do this because of the challenge. I do this to better myself. Accolades or lack thereof are unimportant and not sought after. I compete mainly against myself. This thing is the one thing I do solely for me. It focuses me. It brings me peace. It is my outlet. It is pure. Race day is this Sunday, November 22. If you like, you can follow me on ironman.com/ironmanlive.
There are a couple of other loose ends that I wanted to mention which is the mosaic part of the title. I was having a spiritual discussion this weekend with some good friends and my wife. Our church had a retreat out in the Flint Hills and part of the formal material presented was about God as good and with our best interest in mind and how we can see that in creation and nature if we just slow down and look. But that doesn’t completely register as true with me. When I look at nature I see a system with physical laws that punish for bad choices as strongly as they reward for good choices. Slip off a cliff while rock climbing and you die or at least suffer significant injury. Ignore the tide suddenly going out 3/4’s of a mile leaving flopping fish in its wake and you drown in a tsunami. If I believe in a God that created all this then that God is responsible for the system. That doesn’t seem like a system of care and concern and benevolence and best interest. That system seems harsh. So we discussed, and the explanations that I anticipated were the ones given leaving me in much the same place at the end that I was when we started the discussion. BUT…I do find these days that I have an inner peace, for about the last 9 months, that wasn’t previously there earlier in my life. Even though I am not fully convinced that what God offers me is grace and love and acceptance without the anger and judgment and penalty, I feel peace, and I don’t feel the frantic need to get it figured out right now. I ask of God that he help me understand him the way he intends to be understood, and I’m listening more to what is within me as I look for the response to that plea.
The third thing is a quote from a book that I am reading called Everyday Survival by Laurence Gonzales. It really is about the psychology of survival and takes his first book, Deep Survival, and extends it a bit further into our everyday lives. It’s kind of a Deep Survival meets Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell). I just want to include a quote I read last night. On page 69 (paperback edition): “Bureaucracies force us to practice nonsense. And if you rehearse nonsense, you may someday find yourself the victim of it.” I don’t want to be practicing nonsense.
Things I will be reading on my trip: Everyday Survival, The Science of God, Too Big To Fail, What The Dog Saw. Next up on my reading list are: The Hidden Face of God, The Misunderstood God, The Greatest Show On Earth, Why Evolution Is True. Maybe I’ll post along the way this week if I have anything to say. Maybe I won’t. But at any rate, this time a week from now I’ll be an Ironman again, the second time around.