Long ago, I chronicled the spiritual experience I had in running the Boston marathon on this very blog. It really was about learning the limits of myself, and the need to rely on the Lord in life. During the last several miles I was repeating the phrase ‘are you running with me Jesus’, and he was. He got me to the spot you see above in April 1993 where I fell into the arms of my besty, as they say these days, one of my college roommates, Rick Sanders who lives and works in Boston. Boy do we look young and fit in that photo. That was not only 30 years ago, that was close to 30 pounds ago too. We recently had a great phone call together catching up with each other and Rick sent me this picture from the finish line near the Prudential tower. I was 41 years old, and ready to collapse. Today I’m lucky to slow jog or power walk 3 miles due to nerve pain in my left leg and other factors.
One of the things you realize in life is you would do well to hang on to various of those friends you made in college, because you may well need them later, because they know you from back then, and you need a reminder of who you were and how, hopefully you’ve spiritually, mentally, emotionally grown. Rick is happily married, has three grown children (even though he started all that in his 40s) and his youngest is finally in college. When I was in seminary in South Hamilton Mass. from 1974-77 he came north, spent some time with me, found a job at Landmark school, went back to school at Harvard Divinity (among other places), as I had, and has become a world class head trauma and speech therapist kind of doctor. I have no idea how he has the patience to work with patients who in a good year may relearn say two dozen words, after massive head injuries. I couldn’t do it. He gives lectures about this as well. We have so many happy memories together, including recently going to see our Tar Heels in the final four in Houston. And while in college, going to many many concerts starring our favorite rock and folk and folk rock artists in Chapel Hill and Durham, including of course our home boys— James and Livingston Taylor, with whom we shared both Chapel Hill and Boston and a great love for the Red Sox. Here below are Rick and I at a 1972 beach retreat in Carolina with various of our Christian friends— notice Rick had way more hair then, and notice I even had a chin beard– yes that’s me clutching my guitar.
You get extra brownie points if you can pick out in the top picture that world famous philosopher to fortune 500 companies, Tom Morris, who won teacher of the year awards at Notre Dame. Also in those pictures are future ministers, doctors of dentistry and much more. I love those people and those days. We were all shaped in the crucible of faith at Carolina thanks to Dr. Boyd and Intervarsity Fellowship, even in the shadow of the Kent State killings and the Vietnam War. And that set us all on a course in life that has mostly been a big blessing. Thank you Jesus for running with us all these years.