This is an unedited personal reflection, my account of running a marathon in Los Angeles in 1993.
Bent down. Wrists are hanging by my knees, dangling, brushing my toes. I just saw hot; palm trees, many people—my sense of L.A. Bent down I don’t see anything. I know there are almost 20,000 around me but I choose not to be conscious of them.
Today I have made a covenant with God. I’m going to run a marathon.
Actually I’m not going to do it. God is going to lead me through it if I am supposed to run this thing.
Two weeks ago I decided to sign up. I did not train. I did not one thing to humanly prepare. I don’t remember what I ran the week before—maybe 2 or 3 times from 3-4 miles each? I chose not to think about it. I didn’t even get great sleep the night before, less than 6 hours. It is not of consequence.
I’m usually not able to contain. What I mean is that I usually have to tell someone about what I am planning to do! But not this. Now I realize how special this “secret” with God is. I’m going to have to make covenants with God more often. It’s a promise between you and God, that He will sustain you through anything as long as your purpose is to express Him, your reliance is entirely on Him, and your motives are wholly spiritual. A fulfilled covenant is a blessing; yet it is natural.
This was a complete reliance on spiritual motive, strength and endurance. It had nothing to do with my body.
The first mile took me about 14 or 15 minutes because hardly anyone is moving. I ran I didn’t think. I was caught off guard by the water and Gatorade stations. Everyone bursts toward them cramming the tables, grabbing fistfuls of water then Gatorade then slam the cup down “clatter!” barely a pause and off to run again. The thunder of the cups hitting the ground is tremendous, nearly deafening. This is what I do. I throw down my cup I do not stop to walk and rest it is not in my covenant with God.
Mile 6 my heart races and I am fine. I have found an elderly man who is steadfastly pushing on. I speed up and follow behind him for 2 miles, feeling his pace.
My head is down now I watch the ground. Every mile now they call out times. Oh my goodness—can it be true? I try to figure the math out. Am I running under a 10 minute mile?
Stop it. If you are running for a mile time you can stop right now. That is not why you are running.
I watch the pavement go by and I think of the flag, the flag of the Spirit that I am running for. It’s from a story about a 5 year old girl who is about to run a race on the beach. Her father says to her before she runs: I just want you to remember 4 things.
Keep your eye on the flag which is the finish line.
Don’t compare yourself to the others.
Don’t listen to the applause.
Whatever happens, don’t stop running.
She ran the race. Many stumbled or fell because they waved at the cheering onlookers. Some turned around to see how close the others were and ended up falling behind. She never stopped running. She kept her eye on the flag.
She won the race. Finishing with jubilance she ran into her father’s arms. “I remembered!” she smiled with purity and joy. She was unconcerned about winning, but rather focused on remembering.
My white flag was Spirit. And do not compare yourself to others or listen to the applause. Whatever happens, Pamela, do not stop running.
I went over that statement in my mind over and over and over again. Very simple. No “fancy” mental work. Again and again and again. And I caught the thoughts that did not serve God or our covenant.
“May be I can pass that person up ahead.” Get out error. That’s not why I am running.
Someone limping in agony. Unity. Unity will carry everyone through.
“My legs feel tired. Do you want me to stop? To slow down? You tell me, Lord.” Press on. Then I will.
“Speed up” comes the suggestion. Is this thought from God? Yes. So I do.
It’s mile 19. I’ve been in a spiritual world and lost track of the human measurements. Almost caught off guard by being oblivious to it all, I realize that I have only been absorbed where I should have been—in the spiritual realm.
I can do 7 miles, I tell myself. No, that’s a human thought. Don’t think on it.
I can take one step after the next after the next all relying on God after the next Love after the next Spirit after the next Truth…
It’s all I can concentrate on now, step by step. God if you want me to finish this it won’t be me. I am only willing to run so long as it is Your plan.
“And it is 86 degrees, the hottest of L.A. marathons, will they make it…” the announcer blares.
I will not listen throw it out
My shirt is heavy, soaked with water and gatorade
my legs are heavy/my shoulders are heavy/ my head is heavy
I will not listen to you error. Get out.
Again and again I tell error to get out. Sometimes I have to say it out loud. “Get out.”
I hear murmurings of “the wall.” The block runners are supposed to hit. It is now mile 22.
No wall for me I will not listen.
God if You want me to finish, I will. I will not do this by myself.
24 and 25. The hardest. Step. Step. Step. Step. I can do nothing else but think Unity, Unity. I pray for everyone in the race to make it. To suffer no pain; to press on; I look it up later- it turns out to be the lesson for next week- Unity of Good.
One leg after the other. How is one minute different than the next I tell myself. Time is all the same. So if you can persevere this minute, you can persevere the next minute. God does not give you strength for one minute and not the next. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Last mile and I begin to speed up. It’s the last mile, and humanly this will be over soon so I know it is time to run my hardest. Run I am. I feel strong and peaceful. I cross knowing I could run further.
My covenant with God. It all began, 4 hours and 14 minutes ago when my wrists dangled by my ankles, and I took a step out of this human world and made a covenant with God. Our secret; His promise. So if I can do this for a race- how about in other areas of my life?
Covenants, pure, simple and unadulterated lien to God. I hold this race dear to me heart. Others called me crazy; some unwise; some just “why?” I know and that is all that is important. I ran for God. I kept my eye on the white flag, Spirit. I didn’t listen to the applause. I prayed for those I passed, for Unity, rather than comparing.
And I never stopped running.