Running Mates

I started running in earnest in 2004, right after our family moved to Bloomington, Indiana with my husband’s work.  I knew no one, and after logging several miles alone, I landed in a small running group of girls who took me in as one of their own.  When they welcomed me, all they knew about me was I enjoyed running … and lucky for me, they didn’t kick me out after we grew to know each other.  I have wonderful memories of running with those girls on wooded trails padded with pine needles as we shared challenges, dreams, and stories that split our sides with laughter.  After a couple years, our family returned to Kansas City, and I’ve fallen into similar groups of runners who have warmly welcomed a new road companion.  Through the years, my running mates have made me a better runner and enriched the miles we’ve shared … with a lot of belly-laughing along the way.

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.  Proverbs 27:17

While consistent time alone with God in silence is necessary to foster a relationship with Him and sharpen our faith, our friends can and should be a strong force for good in our lives.  Not only are they capable of making us better people, but they can encourage a deeper relationship with God by inspiring fresh reflections and shedding a new light on our life.  A genuine friend does his or her best to be honest when it’s hard, kind and loving when it’s not deserved, joyful in the midst of darkness, peaceful in unsettling times, patient  with uncertainty, compassionate in times of sorrow, happy for another’s success, and DARN FUN to be around.  Do I surround myself with friends who strive to develop those traits and challenge me to be the best friend and Christian I can be?  Through conversation, counsel, and actions, our friends can help us sharpen our graces and learn more about ourselves, our faith, and our God.  The race of life is much richer when it’s run with the friends God gives us, and each companion is placed in our path for a special reason.  The tried and true saying “a family that prays together stays together” likewise rings true with friends.  Try it sometime … a friendship that has God at the center cannot be broken.

Dear God, thank you for my friends.  Please help me be the best friend I can be as I strive to be more like You – a genuine friend to all.