Saturday, 20 June 2015

My Pacemaker

I'm not much of a sportswoman, in fact exercise is something I don't go out of my way to partake in. 

But a friend of mine, he enjoys it. He decides he's going to run a marathon, he's tried {and tried HARD} before but this time, he says, he's going to do it. 

So, for three months he trained. I voted myself his self-appointed personal trainer. Which actually just looked like me dropping him off to start his route, figuring out those training routes on google maps, picking him up on the days it just didn't work out, having my phone on loud whilst he was out and waiting up to make sure all was well. 

When I try I can make it sound like I did a lot. But really, when the day came, it was all on him and how fit he was. 

All this is to say: I went to a marathon. I drove round a city and did a terrible job of watching it, but {thankfully!!!} I didn't miss him crossing that finishing line. It was a bloomin' awesome moment. To me, it was utterly remarkable. 

I learnt a lot watching him train for that marathon. But I was just thinking about my closest friend - she's been away for a while and I've been trying to work out how everything fits together. 

She's not my soul mate, whatever that is. She's not my number one cheerleader. And she's not my partner in crime.  Though she is a bit of all those things, too. 

When I watched that marathon, my brother and I - we stood right by the finishing line and we hollered our voices hoarse, we clapped our hands until they stung. And we did not stop. Each person had just did something that we saw as remarkable. We did the cheerleading. 

If my life was that marathon - she wouldn't be those cheerleaders, not even the loudest, most enduring ones. What if she could be a cheer leader who ran along with me?

I've always had a problem with comparing life to a race. Does that mean we've all got to want to win? Because if I was in a race, no matter how much I pretended otherwise, I would definitely want to win. 

Being as I'd never seen a marathon before or any sort of similar sporting event I hadn't really heard of pace makers. But as we stood on that finishing line every half hour or so a runner would cross carrying a banner with a time on his back - and that was the time he would finish at. 

You know what my friend is? She's my pacemaker. And no not so I can finish life first. Not so that I win. Or to beat a personal best {ha!}.

Her banner says "life done well and life done full". And that's what we do for each other. Pacemakers are like an agreement - "this is how I want to finish, will you do that with me?" 

We lay out all of ourselves. We do the best things and the worst things alongside one another and then somehow we figure out how together we can finish this thing well and full. 

Sometimes that looks like slowing down - we don't stop, we don't give up, but we do slow. 

Sometimes that looks like celebrating the milestone - the finishing line isn't really the goal, the Kingdom here and now is where we celebrate.

And sometimes that looks like running and running hard - with everything we have and all the strength we can collectively muster. 

It's hard to pace yourself, especially when you're not really sure where you are up to - but in the most beautifully miraculous way having a friend looking in means you can figure it out together. And you can pacemake for one another. 

Her going away has forced me to keep track of my own pace, to try and work out where I'm going wrong from the insider perspective and its jolly hard. Sometimes I have pushed too hard and needed someone to call for a BREAK {Isachar style!}, other times needed someone to give me a kick up the bum and get a move on. 

The thing that matters is that you choose the right pacemaker. If your pacemaker is aiming to finish with financial success, fame or a highflying career path then funnily enough that could well be where you end out.

Check their agenda.

And then run. Together. Drop back and wait for a different pacemaker or run harder. Sometimes no pacemaker would be better than one with the wrong agenda. 

Run, and run well.

Honestly dude I miss you. For a while I thought it might be because you make me, me - and that wouldn't really be a good thing. Then I got it! You tell me when to slow and listen when I say it's time for a different pace and you remind me when it is time to get out there and run with all our might. The most amazing thing about pacemakers is that they're in it for the long haul. They remember the beginning and they dream of the end. Somehow we do that with each other.