Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Different Kind of Help

I invited my husband to run with me two Saturdays ago. Then, I sent him away. With a scowl.

"Go on. Run ahead of me."

He turned his head toward me. He gave me a funny look. He ran a few steps ahead and said, "Like this?"

"No," I said, unpleasantly. "Keep on running. Stride out."

He did.

He ran ahead. With a puzzled look on his face. He came back, checked on me, and continued to run ahead.

"Uh-oh," I wondered. Would I be in trouble with my husband? I did invite him and then proceeded to send him away. And not very kindly either.

What compelled me to do that?

Was it my youngest of five, independent, "Do it Self" attitude that needed to prove something that sent him away?

Was it that during high school cross country races I ran by myself?

Or was it that he was w.a.l.k.i.n.g. while I "ran"?

Once he was ahead of me, my gasps for breath were no longer magnified against his walking self beside me. When he was next to me, I heard each clunky step of mine next to his quiet stride. The comparison slowed my steps, making my effort seem even harder.

When he went ahead of me, I looked up.

I began to imagine my stride as more graceful. Instead of the fitness gap between us discouraging me, I began to be inspired.

I will never run as fast as my husband even if he was not in shape and I was. He is male and talented. I am female. I run long and slow.

But watching him run fast stirs me to keep training so that I'll be as fit as I can be. It doesn't have to be the same pace as him.

I liked having him ahead of me more than next to me.

How odd this struck me, at first.

But as I pondered why I liked having him ahead of me. I realized that this was a different kind of help. An inspirational kind of help instead of the in-the-trenches sort of help.

And this is true in my daily life as well.

I need friends who are running the race at the same pace and the same effort AND I also need people ahead of me, showing me the possibility of what can be done.

I need both: the trudging-right-alongside-me friends and the way-up-ahead friends.

How about you? Do you need both kinds of friends in your life? Do you have an example of someone in your life that encourages you more by watching him (or her) run ahead of you than if they were right beside you?


p.s. Thankfully, the hubby wasn't offended in my sending him away. I was still credited with the points of inviting him along for a run.

p.p.s. I promise that this is not becoming a running blog -- at the very least my next post idea has nothing to do with running.

ppps Thanks for coming for Company Coffee and go HERE to read more.


  1. I have a friend who is both a right beside me and an up ahead of me friend. She's great fun, and she also gives wonderful advice. I'm grateful to have her as a friend.

  2. Sarah, You make a good point! Because, yes, I have friends that are both because truly my husband is both! But when we physically run together, he is certainly out ahead always. But most of the time in life he is beside me, too.

  3. Neat analogy...thanks for sharing!

  4. I'm so grateful for both kinds of friends. One to know that the path has already been forged, and another to know I'm not on it alone.

  5. Kathleen that is such a neat story. I have a friend that sometimes she has been in front while I've trudged along, other times she's followed my lead. In the worst of times, we've held each other up. Thanks for the perspective adjustment! Have a wonderful weekend!
    Good for you for jogging! I walk a lot but have a mental block when it comes to jogging.

  6. Sometimes friends inspire me by, of all things, admiring my smallish ability. It motivates me to realize that I HAVE made progress -- and if I keep working (bicycling is my "game"), I will continue to improve.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

  7. Yes, we do need both kinds of people in our lives. I think if I ran, I'd like to be by myself, but if I walked, I'd like someone to walk and talk with. =p

  8. Great entry and yes, we do need both types in our lives and I'm so thankful to have that. And, I certainly hope that I can be one of those to my friends along the way.

    Blessings to you this Lord's Day!

  9. So true. When I first started running, I loved to have my kids come along because they encouraged me to keep going and took my mind off the fact that I thought I was going to die. Now, I prefer to go alone, at my own pace. But I love having my family and friends encourage me! I don't even mind...anymore...that my son whips me every time!

  10. I may be faster...but you're prettier!

  11. Ha! This is so cool! Just listened to a sermon talking about how we need to have relational tension in our lives to be healthy and to grow. Not only to we need the ones running ahead of us, but also those lagging behind, so that we can spur them on. Great post!!

  12. Sandy...what a great thought that I hadn't thought of...now that you mention those lagging behind...it seems obvious that that would be a part of the equation. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  13. So so true! I need friends to run along side me and friends to inspire me. Great post.


Thanks for being part of the conversation...I love hearing from you. Kathleen

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