March 11, 2014

My Husband vs. Superheros

My husband, daughter and I just finished watching "Thor:  The Dark World" last night.  In the afternoon, I had had oral surgery to install a dental implant.  It turns out that baby teeth start re-absorbing their roots when you get older.  I was supposed to have the surgery at the end of March, but the poor little tooth wouldn't hold out that long and it was starting to constantly ache.  Thanks go to God for creating an opening for me yesterday.  That night, with Novocaine and high doses of Advil keeping the pain at bay, I decided to watch the movie, hopping it would be better than the first one.  I was disappointed by the first "Thor" movie because the plot was a little dicey, my expectations were pretty high because it was directed by Kenneth Branaugh and because I could not for the life of me believe that a smart scientist would fall in love with an arrogant, easily affronted, possibly not-so-smart guy, even if he had blond hair, blue-eyes and well defined muscles. The movie did not give a stirring defense of the love that developed between them and I believe that scientists are supposed to be attracted by brains, not brawn.

This movie was better, not just because Thor had really learned his lesson from the first movie and was less arrogant, but also because Loki had more lines and most of them were very funny.  It was great to see Rene Russo back in fighting form.  She has been a favorite actress of mine for her roles of making men the damsels in distress and for her gracious characters.  Kat Dennings continued to be the most charismatic female character in the story, adding both humor and gumption in recruiting an intern's intern.  And I loved seeing Christopher Eccleston ("Dr. Who", 2005) again and hearing his Northern England accent sometimes come through his Dark Elvish speeches.  Natalie Portman as Thor's love interest continues to be a bland, flat character, though this time she showed that she was a bit feisty by slapping both Thor and Loki, though Loki probably deserved more of a sucker punch.  Thor himself is definitely better in this movie, showing more intelligence, kindness, dedication to loved ones, even Loki and more in control of his anger.  However, the movie would have been much better if Stellan Skarsgaard, whom I love as Dr. Eric in the previous "Thor" and "The Avengers" movies,  had worn more clothes through his scenes.

I must confess, that if I were single and had a choice between Loki and Thor, I would choose Loki. I know, that is a totally anti-Christian response because we are supposed to love the good guy, not the evil one/morally ambiguous guy.  However, I have a weakness for funny men and I love the dark hair/blue or grey eye combination, which is far less common than blue eyes/blond hair.  If I have to choose between humor and well-defined pecs, humor wins hands-down every time.

And this is why I am totally grateful to God, because my husband has all that Loki has to offer in being incredibly funny.  And I love the fact that my husband's hair, which used to be dark, now more closely matches his grey/blue eyes.  Best yet, I don't have to feel conflicted about his character because he is a man after God's own heart, which is not to say that he is perfect, but that he is humble before God and is willing to listen when advice or constructive criticism is offered.  He has our family's best interests at heart and pursues them.  It is why I have been able to trust him with my life and be able to imperfectly submit to him as the leader of our family.  He is the type of man that I pray that my sons will grow up to be and that my daughters will marry someday.

March 2, 2014

Marathon DNF or "Running With Wings Like Eagles Makes Me Dizzy"

Yesterday, before the race started, I quoted Isaiah 40:31--"But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.  The will mount up with wings like eagles.  They will run and  not grow weary.  They will walk and not grow faint."  Sadly, I did not finish (DNF) the marathon.  I was doing great.  I made it up all the hills and down the hills.  I ran in the rain and without seeing the sun, which was actually a relief.  I had made it to the halfway point.  And then, somewhere near mile 14, I started feeling out of it and a bit dizzy.  I called my husband and asked him to pray for me.  I started walking and taking deep breaths.  The feeling didn't go away and  my legs started to seize up.  At the mile 15 rest stop, I stopped for a moment and the people there gathered around me and asked me how I was doing.  I confessed that I was feeling dizzy.  They suggested that I stop.  I wasn't about to argue.  And yes, I started crying, feeling defeated.  Everyone at the race stop was so kind.  They reminded me that I had run 15 miles, which was quite an accomplishment.  It helped.  I sat on the ground and stretched, waiting for the "car of shame" to arrive and carry me to the finishing point.  They guys driving me were saying the same thing.  My husband and kids comforted me as did the runners from East Valley Running club, with whom I have trained for the last five months.  My family and I ate lunch together and got in the car to go home as the heavens opened and rain poured down in buckets.  More words of kindness and encouragement came from friends and family when I posted  my results on Facebook.  And with every posting, God was whispering His "Amen" to their words.  Rain in the middle of the night woke me up and the words "Not strong enough..." kept popping in my head and I started crying again.  My husband prayed for me and as he did, God completed the sentence with one word: "...yet."  That comforting word lulled me to sleep with visions of running just like in Isaiah 40:31.

This morning, God continued to sing me a love song by having Mandissa's "Overcomer" playing on the radio as the alarm went off this morning:  "...You might be down for a moment, feeling that it's hopeless, and that's when He'll remind you--You're an overcomer..."  On my walk with the dog, I put on my Marathon playlist and set it to shuffle.  However, there was nothing random about the songs that were played:  The first four songs were "I Feel Pretty" (West Side Story), "Wait and See" (Brandon Heath), "Remind Me Who I Am" (Jason Gray) and "All Creation" (Brian Doerkson/Vineyard Worship).  He reminded me what my husband had been telling me, that my training was not without fruit because I was stronger, my body was leaner and I had developed enough strength to run 15 miles AND He had been teaching me so much through it.  He reminded me how beautiful I am in His eyes ("I Feel Pretty"), that  He won't forget me, nor is He finished with me yet ("Wait and See"), that regardless of what I do, I am the one He loves ("Remind Me Who I Am") and that He will provide all that I need ("All Creation") for which I am incredibly thankful.   Then came the worship songs, which I unabashadly sang to Him who is my Savior, Messiah, Redeemer and Friend, even though I was still walking the dog and making a fool of myself and in danger of torturing people with the sound of my singing.

So I will listen to the words of Isaiah 40:31 and wait on the Lord, on His timing, on His provision and teaching and I will follow His lead which will make me stronger in so many ways, so that the next time He calls me to run a marathon, IF He calls me to run a marathon, I will run and not grow weary--at least until I cross the finish line.

P.S.  I have also come up with a list of the benefits of not finishing that outweighs the loss of some bling (the medal) and the title of "marathon finisher":

  1. I still earned the T-shirt and arm warmers (which aren't much more than adornments for anywhere other than Arizona) by starting the race and training for five months.
  2. I can move today.
  3. I can walk (with some difficulty).
  4. I can bend down, given enough time.
  5. I can walk up and down stairs, gingerly.
  6. I showed my kids that even grown ups fail and have to pick themselves up and try again and are thankful for the chance to try.
  7. Best of all, I will be able to run before the end of the week :-D