Sunday, April 7, 2013

You Have a Torn Labrum

2009 Boston Marathon--Time: 2:57:06
“You have a torn labram. The MRI says you have a torn labrum in your right hip." 

 “Spell it,” I said cryptically. The voice on the other end of the phone was my friend and physician. I trust him but the connection was bad and I wanted to get it right. “L-a-b-r-u-m. Labrum.” He said. “It’s called a labral tear.” I paused, thanked him for the news and ran up to my computer to Google “labrum.” It’s the cartilage in the hip. Somehow I ripped mine. Its not an irreparable injury. Frankly, physical therapy and maybe easy surgery will correct it. Its not badly torn—at least I don’t think so. But its torn and it took me out of the Boston Marathon. It would have been my 9th in a row. My friends shake their heads and say, “Overuse! You train too hard.” Maybe. Or maybe not. I like to be focused and running hard—and surfing in the winter—forces me to do that. I want to read a lot and work my body hard because it forces me to have physical and mental integrity—something people seem to lose as they get older. But its disappointing. Truth is, I’ll probably trot the first 3.1 miles and, after crossing the 5K line, stop. Jan will pick me up. We’ll drive to mile 21 and I will watch the rest of the race with her as a spectator. A family friend from Seattle will be with us. Her son is trying to break 2:30! He’s one fast dude.

I enjoy running the Boston Marathon more than any other race. In fact, if I could just run one race a year, I’d choose Boston. The leaves aren’t out yet and there is a freshness in the air that’s unusual. Running through beautiful New England towns is exhilarating. Its honestly delightful. For me, it brings me into the presence of God. Beauty and loveliness should do that. They are pointers to God. “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty” (Ps 84:1) says the Psalmist. He’s referring to the temple described in the Hebrew Scriptures, but as a follower of Jesus, that loveliness is seen in Gods common grace reflected in sights and smells of nature, people, and activity. An ocean wave that crashes, wind that blows the trees, a good meal, laughter, fun, even running 26.2 miles can be worship when centered on a creative God who gives hints of his glory in the joy of living. More than that, it even points to the sacrifice of Christ in the cross—a very ugly thing in a very beautiful world.

I’m grieving the loss of this race. But the disappointment is a reminder that life’s short, we are broken, and yet God is good. He does what he does for his glory and our good. "No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless" (Ps 84:11). Hard to accept that isn’t it?! Hard to understand, isn’t it?! Think about it. What's it mean?

A torn labrum is a minor inconvenience, that I suppose could turn into a major problem. But that’s a very temporal problem. I’ll probably heal up and I’ve already qualified for the 2014 Boston Marathon thanks to running Yonkers and Athens in the fall of 2012. If you think about poverty, racism, school shootings, and war—all major reminders of a broken world—an injury that’s unintentionally self inflicted is pretty minor. But it sure can seem big when life in the greater scheme of things is forgotten. Sin is ugly. Life is short. People are small. God is big! There is a solution to the evil in this world. If you mix that all up and are either forgetful, or incognizant, of the solution, life becomes very dark."No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless!" Whose walk is blameless? How do we become blameless? Think about it!

Addendum: I ran the first four miles then dropped out. The issue seems to be more an abdominal hernia than a torn labrum. At any rate, it has all paled when considering what happened at the finish line with the bombings.