A few Saturdays ago, Suzi and I were having brunch at Couzin’s Cafe in Kirkland and we were talking about life stages. Suzi said she felt she was in a stage of learning to die to herself, which is pretty morbid unless you’re a Christian (at which point it becomes normative). As for me, though, I’m less clear, but I think I’m in a stage of execution, of following through with what I know I need to do.
As I thought back about the last two months, the most cohesive theme has been one of believing in and working towards something not yet here, not fully realized. It’s like flying blind, like trusting that what you’re doing is right, and that by the time you get there, you’ll be able to see everything converge.
There were 3 events that happened (actually on consecutive weekends) in March that helped form this theme.
One was the internal hackathon Tune hosted, a 48 hour long mobile game hackathon on the top floor of the Columbia Tower. I managed to be on the winning team, writing a clicker game called Mobile Mogul. My coworker Oki and I worked through both nights (Oki wouldn’t let me sleep!), but there was a very real, perpetual concern that we wouldn’t be able to finish or come up with anything presentable. For the longest time, we barely had anything to show for our work - we didn’t have any of our artist’s graphics in the app for more than the first 24 hours. It was still just an airplane spinning circles on top of an image of a house that I had put in there, and it was very unimpressive.
We kept our heads down and worked on our individually assigned tasks and goals. By the end of it, we somehow met in the middle and everything came together. It felt like an improbable gamble for most of the weekend, hoping that everyone else’s tasks would get finished and everything would just fit together, but it all worked out.
The other two events have to do with running. I’d been doing a lot of it, but prior to my first serious half marathon ever on March 7, my legs were feeling perpetually tired. I pulled my training back drastically. Going into that weekend for the Lake Sammamish Half, I had a lot of doubt. I was unproven and hadn’t run fast or long for about two weeks.
That day, everything worked out perfectly. It was flat, low 40s, and Suzi and Tim came out to cheer me every 3 to 4 miles. I didn’t get shin splints as had been the case the preceding 3 days of low mileage. I wanted to run sub-1:30 and thought at one point that I’d end up doing something like 1:33 (must have been a math error in my head), but I kept at it and was surprised to get under 1:29 for something like 61st place.
Two days later, I bought new shoes. I ran in them a bit before my next half marathon, which was accidentally 2 weeks later, putting about 30 miles or so on them. They hurt my right foot, but I thought I was just breaking them in.
The Mercer Island Half was on the 21st, a pretty hilly course. I hadn’t run well since Lake Sammamish, and my running in between wasn’t anywhere near sub-7 pace. I wanted to run sub-1:30 for this one too, and finished about 30 seconds late, I think it was 64th place. I passed a bunch of people on hills, which was nice, but I was destroyed by the last big hill on mile 11; my last two miles were my slowest and sorta demoralizing/embarrassing.
The next day, I couldn’t walk. Turned out maybe I wasn’t breaking in my shoes, but vice versa. I haven’t run since. After three weeks, I went in to the doctor today and found out that it was a stress fracture, so I’ll need to stay off of it longer.
This is pretty lame to me, since I have been training since late last year specifically to get a Boston Qualifier in June at the Seattle Rock n’ Roll full marathon. I wanted 12 solid weeks of training, but now I’m probably looking at something like 6. This is, in a sense, what I mean about working towards something you haven’t seen yet. By the time I’m running again, I won’t have much time to train, certainly not as much as I wanted to have. But even for something like this, I’m thinking that if I get healthy and put in a few good weeks of hard work, even without 12 weeks of training or a proper taper, I can get that Boston Qualifier.
The other large facet of execution without exhaustively knowing what’s going to turn out is spirituality.
I got a bit of a kick in the butt after I reconnected with a college acquaintance who I learned was now going to church and growing in his understanding of/desire for God. Throughout college, I wanted to see my peers find this end, but I didn’t really feel like I made much of a difference. This guy who is now experiencing this - I never talked to him about God or anything. I never really talked to him about anything, really; we just played basketball every now and then. In a sense, I missed out on him. I missed out on being a part of his story, and I missed out on having a front row seat of watching God work.
If anything, that challenges me with the people I interact with today. Who knows what will happen to them, and if they are people God is working on. Who knows if one of my coworkers will believe in God in 3 years - and if I will have gotten to be a part of it or not, if they’ll look back and wonder why I never talked to them about it, or if they’ll look back and remember me trying to tell them the gospel. I guess the thing is that I fear coming off as foolish. But ultimately, that’s not reality. I’m not foolish. It would be right for me to tell them the gospel, whether they end up thinking the gospel, or my proselytizing, is foolish or not.
There are a few people in my life recently who I feel like God has entrusted to me to make a difference in their lives. It’s not exactly glamorous, and it’s not like there is some kind of guarantee or anything. But I still feel like He will use me, and so I’m going to execute in that direction. It’s the sort of thing where you can’t really see the results until everything’s over, but the sort of thing that you work towards and have seen enough or done enough to know that it’s worth doing, and that it’ll probably work out.