Obstacles and Opportunities

Running Feet

Overnight storms in the Houston area resulted in heavy rainfall, wind damage and flooding. We were awakened at 4:45 a.m. by a severe weather alert notification that a tornado warning was in effect for Alvin.

It’s a good thing I waited to run until after sunrise because the nighttime storms caused quite a mess at Alvin Community College and the nearby YMCA Soccer Fields. Broken tree limbs littered the running track. 200 feet of chain link fence was pushed over. Soccer-field bleachers had been lifted from their foundation and lay crumpled 100 yards away. Trash cans and porta-potties were horizontal rather than vertical. Debris was scattered far and wide. High water covered portions of the ACC track.

Yet, for all the obstacles, it was a morning of opportunity. White herons stalked the swollen bar ditches, searching for a morning meal; black crows surveyed the strewn trash cans, scavenging for anything edible. An intrepid group of family and friends prepared a large pavillion for a Halloween Day celebration. Music was already blaring. The party must go on!

Despite facing gusts, rain and high water, and having to avoid wind-blown debris and broken limbs, I finished my 10 km run. Why? Sherelyn would say it’s because I’m silly, and she’s probably right.

Putting a positive spin on probable insanity, perhaps it is because I view obstacles as opportunities: Strong head-winds slow you down, but they cool you off. Rain is a refreshing break from typical Gulf Coast heat and humidity. Splashing through high water rejuvenates feet that pound the pavement around 9,700 times during a typical morning run.

Today’s run was slow, taking 1 hour, 2 minutes and 40 seconds to complete 10 km/6.2 miles. Nothing to brag about, for sure. Yet, pushing through allowed the accomplishment of another goal: I completed twenty-three 10 km runs in October, for a total distance of 231.41 km or 143.8 miles.

Of course, in the larger scheme of things, such statistics are insignificant, but they provide personal mile-markers. If we are goal oriented, results naturally follow. If one goal is unattainable, make another one. If conditions on a given day don’t allow for a PB (personal best) in speed, approach the session as an opportunity for increasing strength and endurance. Using this approach, we are well-positioned to face new challenges tomorrow.

The Apostle Paul hoped to journey to Rome, and after visiting with the disciples, travel on to Spain. Everything changed when he was arrested. Unable to receive a fair hearing from his own countrymen, he appealed to Caesar, and eventually made his defense before the Roman Emperor.

Writing to the Philippians, he said, “Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear” (Phil. 1:12-14).

When Plan A proved impossible, he shifted to Plan B. Adjusting to the obstacles, he made the most of the opportunities. May we show the same flexibility and determination.


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