I love looking into the eyes of one who has run a marathon. In her/his eyes I find an energy source that has been tested and proven. S/he knows. There is no longer ambiguity or doubt; I see certainty. After training, dedicated hours putting in the distance, they ran the race, endured the doubts and challenges, and persevered. In crossing that line, each established a foundation that others could see and feel. It is a test that changes on from the inside out.
There is a wonderful outcome that comes with completing a marathon that I did not expect. Frankly, nobody had told me about it. I did not know that I would know and recognize the resolve in others. You see others differently because of the shared experience and foundation. You know what s/he is capable of and it provides a shared base of trust and knowledge. While they may not complete something, it will never be because s/he gave up. It will be a choice. Their ability to endure, strive, and not yield is a given.
I look into a marathoner’s eyes recently and I found a humorous twinkle. In this case, it was as if he knew as well. In a moment of uncertainty, his eyes said it all; “Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon.” (Psalm 31.24)
At the time, I smiled and carried on. Was it intentional? Was it deliberate? Did he know what he was doing? The questions lingered, begging to be asked and analyzed. As I left them dancing in silence, I realized that some gifts occur because they exists. I do not know if he was intentionally passing on a gift of hope. I do know that he passes on this gift to all that recognize it is there for her/him. He cannot help himself. He may not even be aware. It just is.
As I reflect I realize this is how it should be. Gifts within grow as they are freely shared. As it becomes natural, life is preserved and enriched.