Here I am. Stuck behind this behemoth truck at a traffic light. It has to be sitting five feet off the ground. It’s wheels are the size of a VW Beetle. It has two exhaust pipes that extended vertically behind the cab. The kind of exhaust pipes you would see on a semi. Every time the truck lurches forward, they spew grayish black smoke into the air and give off a deep, menacing growl. A growl that demands it be noticed.
It’s windows are tinted all the way around. On the back window are several stickers. Stickers that are shaped like deer heads, race car numbers and one that reads something about guns. I can’t see the driver but at one point I notice an arm slide out the drivers side window and with pin point accuracy, flicks a cigarette butt across the road and onto the median on the other side.
This leads me to believe that this is no ordinary human. This is a true redneck. A real salt of the earth kind of guy. A man who loves his country and fears God. A man who spends his free time hunting and fishing and maybe driving that truck through the mud.
This man probably voted republican all the way. He shops at Walmart for everything. He probably has three or four dogs. Big dogs. He wouldn’t be caught dead with one of those dogs that you can fit in a bag.
I’m judging this book by it’s cover. And this mans cover is screaming trailer park, Beechnut and tribal tattoo’s.
But I’m jumping to conclusions. He may be a family man. He could have a wife and three kids at home. He may live in a nice neighborhood with security gates and an olympic size swimming pool. He may be an executive at a company and thats how he affords this toy that he is driving around in.
Maybe he is a deacon at his church and goes on mission trips every year to third world countries and spreads the love of God to people who have never heard it. Maybe he teaches Sunday school at his church and is actively involved in bettering his community.
I feel guilty now, convicted. It’s easy to judge with the eyes. But until you know someone, their story, you really don’t know them at all.
“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement.” – John 7:24
That says it all. Guilty as charged.
Do you make snap judgements? Do you judge the book by it’s cover?
Groups of geese fly over my house all the time, honking and dropping bombs in my yard. My poor dog doesn’t know what to make of them. She hears them cackling, tilts her head to one side and looks up at them in wonder. If I could read her mind I think she would be saying, “I wish I could fly.”
That’s how dogs think. They want to be part of a pack, a community of like-minded beings that have the same goals and ideals. Or maybe my dog just want’s to eat those geese.
Like the geese that fly together in perfect formation and the pack of dogs the roam the streets, we as humans need to be a part of a community as well. The desire to be a part of a community is built into our being. It’s natural.
Runners need to be a part of a community also. It’s not always about competing as an individual. We need a support group, a community of other runners that have the same goals. Here are three advantages of being a part of a running community:
1. Runners push each other. It’s not easy to motivate ourselves. We need other runners to hold us accountable, to hold our feet to the fire. We know what each other are capable of and since we have the same goals, we know how to get there.
2. We see each others flaws. The same way we can know each others strengths, we also know each other’s weak spots. Your fellow runners won’t force you to do something you are not capable of because doing so could lead to injury or worse. At the same time, it’s easy for runners to correct errors because we have been there and we know how to make improvements.
3. We compete together. You’ll see my flock in the picture above. We’ve been through a lot together. We’ve logged hundreds of miles, made great memories and built strong friendships along the way. There is nothing better than accomplishing a goal as a group. Individual goals are great but sharing a piece of your accomplishments with others makes it more fulfilling and meaningful.
What do you think? Are you a part of a running community or do you prefer to fly solo?