Saturday, July 4, 2009


I used to love getting gifts as a kid. I remember being so excited about what I might get for Christmas or my birthday. The excitement leading up to the event was probably the best part of the whole thing even if I didn't realize it at the time. Funny thing that I seem to have lost that youthful enthusiasm for getting gifts somewhere long my 36 year path in this world. You could never have convinced 10 year-old Willie that it's better to give than to receive, but 36 year old Willie takes it as an absolute truth. But why?

I wish I could say that I've turned my views around because I've overcome the selfishness of youth but the truth is that I don't like to be given gifts because of the guilt or obligation receiving a gift brings. In a way it's just another form of selfishness on my part. I never feel worthy of a gift so getting one means that I will feel guilty for it and not be able to enjoy it, or I'll have to work hard to find a way to earn the gift so I can enjoy it. I wish I was mature enough to accept things as they are and enjoy the gifts of this life but it's not in me. I'm constantly working to earn something that I want or that I've been given.

I don't think I'm alone in this feeling, I'm not unique, and I don't think this way of thinking is all bad. On a grander scale, earning the gifts you've been given is a noble cause. We've all been blessed with this wonderful mystery of life. Not just a heart beat. Feelings. Thoughts. That extra something that separates us from other forms of living creatures. We were given that. We can't make it no matter how hard we try. We can't create life, it has to be given to us. That's a tough concept for someone like me to accept. There is something out there that we can't do for ourselves, we have to accept it! So what do we do?

We earn it! We take that gift we've been given and use it! That's the only way to earn that ultimate gift.

All of the blogs I read are inspiring because they are about people USING the gifts they've been given. None of you write enthusiastically about running the same time you did last week, or running the same distance as you did yesterday, or doing the same number of push ups you did a year ago. You're also not always writing about how you succeed every time you try either. No, you write about how much faster you are, or how much farther you ran today, or how many more reps you did at the gym or about how you poured your heart into something and it didn't work out. You're striving, you're not stagnating in the pool of life, you're swimming in the raging waters of adventure and challenge! You're LIVING. You're using the gifts you've been given whether you realize it or not and I believe I'm drawn to you because we're all living what we were meant to be. We may not be on the same paths but we share that dazed feeling of wonderment that we can't explain but that gives us a unique sense of self.

I hope that one day I'm able to receive a gift and give an honest Thank You to the giver without guilt. I suppose that come with (more) age. I hope I never stop feeling the need to earn the gift of being alive though. I want to run on the day I die and discover something new about this world on that run. Not just another 3 miles because it's in my training plan for my next marathong (hopefully #200+ by then), but a run in which I feel/think/see/hear/fall-into something totally unexpected and new.

I suppose when we do die, we've all earned the life we've had by that time anyway. Whether good or bad, we've earned it by how we worked for it. You can't be given a truly good or bad life. You either work to earn the basic gift or you don't. You'll reap something either way.

I've been blessed with not only the gift of live but with a love of running. It's my dream and dreams are gifts too. We didn't come up with them by ourselves did we?? Otherwise I'd have definitely gone with the competitive ice-cream eating/TV watching thing! No, for some reason, whether it was the people in my life or some other innate calling, I've always felt a love of running. It was given to me and I'd be insulting the giver if I didn't use it. I need to earn it.

Truth is I love that gift and I'm happy to earn it. Amazing since I didn't even pick it out of the J.C. Penny catalog or put it on my gift registry at Macy's. No this gift was chosen for me long before I ever had a chance to choose. Someone knew me better than I know myself and planted that seed knowing that through it I might contribute something to his creation. In Willie-terms, He wound me up and let me go!

So whenever you hear me complaining or crying about this hurting or that aching or this being swollen or that turning black and falling off or this being sore or that or this or that or this or that.... Please know that I'm talking about something I love doing and that is burned into my soul. It was a gift and I'm out there joyfully earning it.

Stupid knee is really screwing up my gift right now though! Anything you can do about that Big Guy would be appreciated!!!!
Sorry that slipped out. It is me after all :)

Thanks for listening
Run Fearless


Terri said...

Someone also gave you the gift of writing, whether or not you know it or will acknowledge it. :-) I love the motto "run fearless," it's awesome!

RBR said...

I read this when you posted it on my Blackberry, but I am struggling with computer issues and I cannot comment from the stupid phone. I just wanted to say "I love you, man" this is such a great post.

But you are still the worst injured person ever. Don't think one cool post will get you out of that title.