Tripping Over Our Own Feet

In May, I wrote a piece about my rough transition from marathons to triathlons. The triathlons were enjoyably challenging but also frustrating because high-end gear seemed to be as important as training. On a downhill at top speed I still got passed by over a dozen people because my thirty year old 10-speed should have been retired. In the reflection, I praised the simplicity of running.

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I was reminded of the beauty of simplicity over the weekend during a visit with a dear friend who tends to over-complicate simply things. She will exhaustively analyze straight forward issues and call me in to clarify her convoluted mess. This trait is my job security as a friend! I crack on her ability to escalate all matters and maintain that she’d probably raise the blood pressure of a corpse. Her three step omelet takes seven steps and she is perpetually late since her car is packed with clothes in case the weather suddenly changed by 70 degrees. She’s funny, eccentric, and a bit peculiar, yet adored by her family and friends. We just know that she needs ten minutes to find the right item on a menu and another four minutes to amend the set items when ordering.

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Religion can stymie spiritual growth for some people. Tradition religions have been around for centuries and so have many rules (or expectations as a teacher used to say). While some folks like my friend become overly scrupulous about the rules, most religions can be boiled down to simply loving God and loving other people. The best advice that I ever received for living out faith was to “just do the next right thing.” Like a marathon is about putting one foot in front of the other (over 30,000 times), staying steady in the practice of faith is about keeping it simple and uncomplicated. That way we stay out of our own way and avoid tripping over our own feet.

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