Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Beautiful feet?

Tres' foot
Seriously? Calling this foot beautiful is like calling an elephant petite. This thing with five toes pointing the way is swollen, hairy, and sports colors an artist would covet. The only good thing is that it's probably been soaked and thus, has been de-stinkified. But still, it's hardly comparable to a sunset laden in hues of orange and yellow and brilliant gold while viewed from lofty mountain peaks.

Feet of the unknown
So, how about these feet, the owner of which shall remain nameless for obvious  reasons of privacy and protection from epic embarrassment. The bony, veined, crooked and calloused pedestals have been through the ringer, leaving more than a few toenails behind, some of which have never been seen again. Nine fractures, seven incisions, six screws. Too many miles to count--or at least recall. Nope. Not very beautiful (unless you happen to be an amputee willing to settle for anything).

But I'll tell you what is beautiful. It's the feet attached to the legs of my runners. Why? You might predict (quite accurately) that some of their feet have a good case of the uglies as well. However, that's of little import. What makes them so attractive is they carry their owners to live out a principle:

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 
(Isaiah 52:7)

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10: 14-15)

Last Friday my team once again headed for the hills--literally. It was to be a short but intense workout with multiple repeats up and down a particularly difficult incline. As is the usual case, the faster runners surged ahead with the less experienced and slower runners struggling from behind. "As soon as you finish your workout, you can head back down the mountain," I offered, knowing that most wanted to shower and eat before enjoying the first offering of Friday night football.

But something happened. As the lead runners descended the hill for the last time, none left the day's arena. They began to cheer for the slower runners as they continued to confront the unyielding mountain. As I was finishing my own last round trip, I saw Phillip, a senior leader, running shoulder to shoulder with a lagging runner. That was his sixth trip up the hill. Once at the bottom and amidst shouts of encouragement for the finishing runner, he joined up with yet another team member and led her up the hill. He matched the girl step for step all the way to the top--again-- and for the seventh time. It's not that he wasn't tired after his hard effort on the first five. He simply saw the need to deliver good tidings in person.

As Phillip brought the last runner to the finish, high fives abounded and smiles flashed all around. As a coach, I was amazed. Not a single person left early though they were permitted to do so. They stuck around until the last person completed the workout. Then they ran as a happy but tired pack back down the mountain. Together. As one. Like people who really, truly care about each other. But as their coach, I can assure you this is not an uncommon event. For the runners on the Liberty Christian Academy cross country team, this is their everyday. It's who they are. It's what they do.

Sometimes their dog-tired, worn and wonderful, fast (and slow) feet run silent and deep. No need for loud and obnoxious. But other times, like a stampeding herd of buffalo, their feet stomp out the message: "Good news! Great tidings! Our God reigns!"

May these words of my mouth [the path of our feet] and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalms 19:14).




Karen towns said...

Wow... What a great post!

Rebekah Trittipoe said...

Karen- thanks for your encouraging words. This team of mine is amazing. Love those kids!

Jennifer Deneault said...

WOW! This makes me one proud mamma. I thank God for you, coach T. The impact you have had on our kids is immeasurable. You are a blessing sent to us from God.

Rebekah Trittipoe said...

Thank you Jennifer. It truly is my privilege to work with this team!

Follow the yellow lines

Jack in his younger days "Well, you know I can't live here by myself. I'm moving in with you." I guess he was serious....