As I clocked past mile five on my early morning run this past week, I was thinking about how much I actually enjoy running. While cycling is my first passion, there is nothing like the feeling after a long run to boost the mood. The runners high we so desperately seek comes like a wave of pure joy. The sore muscles are already asking for more.
I wasn’t always a runner. While I played soccer in high school, I typically gravitated to skateboarding and snowboarding as my physical outlets. I never really saw running as something that I would enjoy. It was not until college when I stepped on a track for the first time that I saw the potential. My one-mile-3-times-a-week program was the brunt of jokes from my running friends, but I didn’t really care. At that time I didn’t understand how someone could even survive running 3 or more miles at a time.
While I was skateboarding down the halls of my high school, there was one teacher there who was always pushing me to go out for the cross-country running team. Mr. Hugill was my High School physics teacher and the coach of my High School’s cross-country running team. I looked up to him more than any teacher I have had before or since. In addition to being a very popular teacher, he was also a devout Christian man who was never ashamed of his faith. He explained the world around me in a way that made sense. He spoke of faith as an endurance race to the finish. He spoke of physics as creation. He was the first person in my life that inspired me to live up to something greater, and to be genuine in the process.
As a runner now, I think of Mr. Hugill. There are those people in our lives that we look up to and seek to emulate. I always thought of Mr. Hugill as the sort of guy Christ would be like if he physically walked the earth today. Caring for people, reaching out to those in need, strong enough to stand up for what’s right and a competitive guy that people looked up to.
As I am now in my mid-thirties, I hope that somehow I can pay it forward. I hope I can have a positive impact on others and be a quality example of what is like to be seeking out something greater through Christ. I wonder if I can present a reality of what it is like to embrace spirituality without passing out judgment and bitterness. I wonder if somehow I can inspire someone else to live a more full life in Christ despite their own imperfections. Mr. Hugill seemed to do that pretty well.
As I finish up another run, I am yet again inspired to do greater things. I thank those role models for being the catalyst to spark the fire inside that I never knew existed. I hope that we can all take a look at our own lives and work to live an example of goodness for others to follow.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others