“straight toward her death…”

Last year, Anne picked up Born to Run for me for Father’s Day.  Generally speaking, the book is about the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s Copper Canyon.  Apparently, they like to run.  A lot.  And, they do it without the running gear that runners tend to obsess over.  It begins with the author’s quest to understand why the average runner is constantly fighting injury, and all the while, we learn about life.

This post will be the first of many in the coming weeks, based on a line or two from the text.

Chapter 2 begins, “IT ALL BEGAN with a simple question that no one could answer.  It was a five-word puzzle that led me to a photo of a very fast man in a short skirt, and from there it only got stranger.  Soon, I was dealing with murder, drug guerrillas, and a one-armed man with a cream-cheese cup strapped to his head.  I met a beautiful blonde forest ranger who slipped out of her clothes and found salvation by running naked in the Idaho forests, and a young surfer babe in pigtails who ran straight into the forest to die.  A talented young runner would die.  Two others would barely escape with their lives.”

When I read, “a young surfer babe in pigtails who ran straight into the forest to die.” tears welled up into my eyes.  The only way to become a better runner is to die.  Run faster.  Run farther.  Sacrifice the cartilage in your knees.  Run until your heart wants to explode from your chest.  Run until you are slick with sweat and out of breath.  If it’s winter in Iowa, until icicles hang off of your eyelashes because it is -25.  Not care what anyone driving by thinks of you, your gait, your stride, your pace, your outfit.  You don’t care, because you are running to die.

This is the call of the follower of Christ.  Death.  Up a hill, cross on our backs.  To die.  On September 11, 2001, the firefighters, policemen, and many others ran TO the fire.  To the burning buildings.  It’s my observations that many christians flee pain, flee danger, flee trouble.  Our translation of Christ’s “life to the fullest” is weakened, meaningless, empty.  This is a different kind of death.

May we learn what it means to run, not walk, up the hill of Calvary.  With excitement.  With anticipation.  With death on our minds.  Because only after we die, can we truly live.

I want it said of me that I ran straight toward my death.


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