Posted tagged ‘marathons’

Grandparents Sleepover Weekend

August 19, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                           August 19, 2018


Our oldest daughter, Kecia, and her husband, Kevin, ran in “The Beast” this weekend in Breckenridge, Colorado. The Beast is about a half-marathon, but includes a multitude of obstacles and challenges throughout, like climbing walls, jumping through mud, and walking on hot coals! Okay, just kidding on the hot coals part!

Meanwhile Grammy and Granddad did another form of The Beast at home. We kept the three grandkids- ages 3, 7, and 10! Like our daughter and son-in-law we also had a multitude of challenges and obstacles. Our challenges included keeping the house from looking like a war zone, teeth brushing time, meltdown moments, and striving for most of the food on their plates to actually be eaten.

It’s Sunday morning and I’m “on break” at Starbucks at 7 AM before heading back to the fray and facing the next obstacle of getting everyone in the car to drive 45 minutes to Simla, Colorado for church. The ride home from there will be comparable to coming down the home stretch of our “marathon grandparenting” race! I’m doubting that there will be a water station and available Powerade at the finish line! That’s okay, we just need a bed!

Carol and I love our “grands”, even hoping for more! We also recognize that we’ve both been like “grandparenting sprinters”, not marathoners. We’re used to two hour stints, not 48 hour ultra events. Like an actual marathon it has been a weekend of exhilaration and exhaustion. 

Like the three year old singing with revised lyrics as she played with Play-Doh. 

“This old man, he had three; he had three on my knick-knack…and a knick-knack patio, give a dog a home, this old man comes running home.”

Or our ten year old grandson watching an international fencing competition on TV and figuring out the scoring system they use. 

And our seven year old helping her little sister, and playing “McDonald’s drive-thru lane” with her.

On the exhaustion side there was bedtime! But bedtime at the grandparent’s house is seen as being more like a sleepover, full of giggling and getting their second wind. There’s a lot of movement and talking..and movement…and “I want a drink of water”…and movement…and threat of being duct taped to the bed…and crying…and finally…finally sleep! During the night, however, like chess pieces, there’s a rearranging of where each of the slumberers ends up by Saturday morning.

Last night Carol looked at me and said “I don’t remember being this tired when we were raising our three kids.”

“We’re out of shape, dear! A bit flabby in the grandparent mid-section!”

On the positive, we took them to Noodles for Saturday night dinner and each one of them ate EVERYTHING on their plates…well, except for what the three year old dropped on the floor beside her chair! I ordered an extra plate of pot stickers because they were still hungry!

When I was growing up my parents would take my brother, my sister, and me to our Mamas and Papaw Helton’s for a week in the summertime. They had a farm in the eastern part of Kentucky. If nothing else this weekend has given me a new appreciation for their stamina, patience, and strength. 

And they had 12 grandkids! I feel a bit wimpy and weak being exhausted by three!

I’ll try to be in better shape for the next “Beast”. Kecia and Kevin are doing another race for insane people in a month. They’ll be gone a little longer next time, so for us it will be like doing the grandparenting “Ultra Beast”! 

One thing’s for certain for that next time! We’ll be at Noodles again!

The Pain of Momentum

November 21, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                November 21, 2012


The knees are going!

Well, actually, the right knee! I’m reminded of it each morning when I come downstairs. Stiff, inflexible, uncomfortable, like a broken bike that you’ve always had, and can’t decide whether or not to junk it or restore it.

As I start coming down the stairs my momentum increases, but the pain in my knee doesn’t decrease. “Ouch…ouch…ouch” accompanies each step down.

The knees of a 58 year old former marathon runner when running shoes weren’t so cushy and former basketball player who still likes to drain the eighteen-footer are knees that announce their presence every morning when I wake up.

We probably don’t think about the challenge of getting from the top of the stairs to the bottom. I’m thinking of following my granddaughter’s example- laying down and sliding down on the stomach. I’m sure she would enjoy seeing me do that.

We talk a lot in churches these days about momentum; that when we get momentum in our ministry there is a snowball effect. There is truth in that statement. Churches become “Christianized iPhones.” People flock to the one, or ones, that are deemed “with it” and “hot.”

Blackberries used to be hot. Now they are in recovery mode.

Momentum is good if those moving are clear on where they are heading. It seems like there was a story in the Bible where a herd of pigs rushed over the side of a cliff. Sometimes momentum is following the crowd in a rush to someplace that we’re not sure of.

Back to my knees! Momentum is sometimes partnered with pain. Moving forward is not always a total satisfaction experience. Aching knees is the rider on that horse coming down the steps. Movement unsettles parts of the body.

But momentum is necessary, and to be strived for. I can’t get from upstairs to downstairs without some pain…even on my tummy! A church can’t move forward without experiencing some pain in the process.

It gets visualized and verbalized in various ways. The 70’s style of the sanctuary needs changing, and it will cause some pain in people who have become accustomed to it. After all, it takes at least three Baptists to change a light bulb- one to change it, and at least two others to stand there and comment on how nice the old one was.

Starting an AA group in the church will cause pain, because there who still equate alcoholism as something that happens out there in the world, and the church needs to have that separation from it.

I don’t have to say anything about how different types of music in church cause knees to throb.

A new ministry initiative to a population of immigrants who have settled in the area around the church will cause pain. It is pain experienced as a result of an obedient congregation. The momentum created in becoming a welcoming community will also have it’s sparks, like a sagging muffler hitting the pavement as the car moves down the street.

The question is how much pain is too much pain? Does the tail wag the dog? Does the knee guide the body? What is the tipping point between “Spirit-led momentum” and “holy hesitation?”

It’s interesting that as I progress through the day my knee pain lessens. In fact, mid-afternoon trips down staircases are often pain-free and quicker. No ouchs, no moans and groans. I’m a man on a motivated mission. Put a trip to YoYogurt for ice cream at the bottom of the steps and just see how I can pick up the pace!

Momentum for the church is sometimes like that.

But that’s the exception!