Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Running Philosophy

Running Philosophy
By: Erin Paul
H1, Group 4

            I like to run. I don’t get to do it nearly as much as I would like to because of my busy schedule, but when I do it always makes me feel better. My life is constantly on the go and although I’m still “going” when I run, it’s the one time I can just get away from everything and collect my thoughts. It gives me time to reflect, pray, and really “philosophize” about things going on. This class has caused me to think deeper about things, and I have noticed that on my last few runs. As I was running one day last week, I thought about the Boston Marathon bombings. I ran my first half marathon in February of 2012.

 I can vividly remember what it was like to cross the finish line: pure joy that I could finally rest and complete satisfaction that I had just run 13.1 miles. That one moment made up for the days of getting up at 5 in the morning to run before school, for the terrible ninth mile that went straight uphill, and for the fact that this was 5 miles longer than I had ever run consecutively. And to think some of the runners of the Boston Marathon didn’t get to experience that moment. Instead, they got their legs blown off. Or lost their life. I can’t even imagine. And I shouldn’t have to imagine.

            When I heard about the bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line, my heart broke. Not only because I can’t comprehend why people would want to cause so much pain in the world, but because it really hit home. My dad has been running marathons ever since I can remember. He runs every Country Music Marathon there is in addition to several others around Tennessee. However, his life-long dream was to run in the Boston Marathon. Every year his time would get seconds closer to qualifying for the one in Boston. If I got anything from my dad, it would be the fact that we never give up. So he fought until he got it. My dad ran the Boston Marathon in 2012, just one year before the bombings, with my mom cheering him on at the finish line. What if the race had been bombed the previous year? What if it had taken my dad one more year to qualify? Those are the thoughts that filled my head when I heard the devastating news. I could have lost both my parents, just like that. Just like people lost their loved ones a couple weeks ago.
            Like I said earlier, I cannot wrap my mind around why these things happen. As I continued running, I began to reflect on the goings on of the world. My best friend’s 12-year-old cousin died a few days before from cancer. 12!?! I recently heard of a sick “abortion” doctor that would birth the babies (in unsanitary ways – often killing the mother) and then cut their neck open and break their spinal cords, killing the babies. All while taking advantage of and lying to the mothers. Absolutely disgusts me!!! All you have to do is turn on a news channel and you’re overwhelmed with murders, kidnaps, and heart wrenching deaths of all ages. It’s hard to see the beauty and good that surround us, when evil seems to dominate all around.
            This is one of the biggest arguments I’ve heard against Christianity. How do you believe in a god that lets stuff like this happen? If he really loves us, why do bad things constantly happen to people, even good people? If he really is all-powerful and the creator of all things, why does he not just make everything good? I am a Christian and I do wholeheartedly believe in God. And let me tell you, I still struggle with these questions. I believe it’s good to question God and wrestle with Him about difficult things, such as bombings and cancer.
            First of all as a Christian, I believe God created all things. He is the ultimate Maker and all things He created are good. In Genesis (the first book of the Bible) 1:1-25, God creates the world and the things in it. And after everything He creates, it says, “And God saw that it was good.” God doesn’t make mistakes, so everything He creates is perfect, like Him. But wait, so how do we have all these bad things in the world today if everything God creates is good and everything is created by God? Well, let’s move forward a little bit in time. God creates man – Adam and Eve. He created them perfectly in His image and put them into the perfect world that He has made. Most of you know the story that follows. Genesis 2:17 says, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” God gave them His entire creation to enjoy with one command, don’t eat the fruit from one tree. But, Adam and Eve did not listen and instead gave into the serpent’s (Satan) temptation. There it is: the fall. Sin has now entered the world and corruption has begun.

James 1:13 – 15 “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

Ecclesiastes 9:11 “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.”

Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—“
Romans 9:22-23 “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—“
            Sin has corrupted the world. Corruption of anything is not good. How is our corrupt world supposed to be good? Yes, God is all-powerful and could make everything good again. But our natural rejection of Him has created evil. Our God is loving, but He is also the ultimate Judge. He hates sin (He didn’t create it!) and cannot have any part of it. He is going to let it happen so that people will seek Him and want to live without evil (heaven).  Also, something we talked about in our discussion group about atheism is God allows us to go through trials because if our world was already perfect, what would be the point in living for Him? Why would we desire heaven if we have it here on earth? And we can’t forget about all the good things around us that point to God? Those things are different for everyone – stars, newborn babies, laughter, and so on. I’m not saying all this to preach to you all. I’m just simply organizing some of my thoughts that came into my head while I was running one day.
Word Count: 1261


  1. We all live so close to unthinkable loss, Erin, all the time... but your Dad's & Mom's proximity to the Marathon tragedy is especially disquieting. I think I know how you must feel.

    I also know what it's like to try and "wear the glasses" that somehow allow you to say both "I believe God created all things...and all things He created are good" AND that the world includes evils & "sins" HIS creatures, whose flawed choices He would have to have foreseen, are solely & damnably responsible for. I was raised in the same theological tradition.

    But, with the greatest respect and empathy I must say: it makes no sense. It's self-contradictory. I can't wear those glasses anymore. They don't clarify anything. They insult human intelligence, they mock human suffering.

    But yes, the world is also full of good, full of beauty and kindness and grace. You and your classmates, many of whom share your faith, have demonstrated those very qualities.

    We will all believe what we think we must.

    May we all, also, keep on "running". And thinking. And living. Peace and love, everyone.

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  3. I really enjoyed your post Erin! I caught some parallels between Christianity and Islam in your post! I am really glad that I got to do so! This just exemplifies what this class was for me- an oppurtunity to begin thinking about life and the way we and others are living in it, and the way we can live along side one another in peaceful coexistance even with our differences!

    And I am very happy that your dad and mom are safe. Nobody deserves to feel the pain that so many people felt in Boston, over seas in countries plagued with war, in Burma a place you are so familiar with (and there is horrible attrocities happening to Muslims there I was reading in the news and saw the THE MOST HORRIBLE photos I have ever seen. These people feel unsafe leaving their homes, in their homes, going to school. This feeling should not exist, and I wish that nobody did!
    (a little bit of a tangent, but its what i was thinking about when the marathon news was unfolding)