Scientifically proven: plants grow better when talked to.
Or sung to as seems to be the case with this oriole and his crab-apple.
He lights. He flitters. He sings his beautiful song. He can’t help but sing. It comes too naturally. It’s the vibration, perhaps, of his oriole song that encourages the pink to explode. Sure, the crab-apple would bloom without him, but there would also surely be a stagnation, a sluggishness, without his encouraging words and flutters of activity. The way I see it, God gave songbirds a purpose not just to look beautiful, but also to play a role in His complex creation. For real, I don’t know about you, but I notice the robin’s song long before I see buds on trees. I see the orioles before those pinks burst open with all their glory. It seems likely that the robin, the oriole and the like stir up life on a microcosmic level to encourage something good to come out from beneath that cozy, safe bark. They encourage with their song. It’s taken me about 30 years but…
I’ve finally found my song through running.
My earliest running memory was with my mom. She and I were driving home to the farm. We were about a mile from home and I said, “Stop. Let me out. I wanna run home.” She did. I took off running. She followed me ever so slowly in the car as I ran down the gravel road and up the huge hill all the way home. I was four. It was evident from a young age that running was “in my blood” so to speak. But what’s in the blood doesn’t always surface right away. Up and through school I was a relatively competitive runner but not overly dedicated. Like a bird that just didn’t know its song, I fluttering around aimlessly and muted. I lived by whatever sounded good. I was pretty shallow and undisciplined. I wasn’t thinking about my purpose — how God formed me to glorify him best. I needed a little Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed by this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That by testing you may discern what is the will of God what is good and acceptable and perfect.” I mean, I know: our value is complete simply in our existence. No works, nothing I do, can make God love me any more than He already does. The bird can just be and he will still be loved. Nevertheless, God created the songbird to sing; he finds joy and purpose – possibly even nearness to His creator – in doing that which he was created to do. So in the search for my song, I kept coming back to running.
My progression has been slow and not always deliberate:
- Marathons came into the picture in 2001. I’ve shaved an hour off of my marathon time since then, reducing it to a miraculous 2:42 (miraculous because it really was a miraculous race). I’ve run 15 and counting.
- My husband came into the picture in 2003. I married a runner. He has been both my anchor and my sail. He encourages me to fly but still helps me to stay grounded and realistic with the expectations I put on myself.
- I tried my hand at an ultra marathon in 2007. It was one of the first North Face Endurance Challenge 50-milers. I won and practically by accident.
- My first Boston was in 2009.
- My first sub-3 hour was in 2012.
- My first Olympic Trials will be in 2016.
Every day and with every mile, it becomes clearer that I’ve been given me this opportunity to sing this song. Similar to how the bird encourages the tree to bloom with his song, my voice to encourage others goes through the megaphone of my feet.
Thanks for hearing my song.