I thought of this phrase as I was bemoaning my painful and swollen knee that sometimes occurs when my Rheumatoid Arthritis is flaring. I am a person who likes to research and know about things. One if the things I have learned that movement is good for RA. Too much sitting around makes for even more stiffness and pain. I can run through achy joints and mild pain but not a knee that is twice its normal size and so painful that the 3 day back labor I had was sounding like a walk in the park. This is one of the many reasons I started running again. To lose weight to help the joints and get the joints moving.
I was just plain aggravated that here I am, literally working my tail off to improve my health and I get hit with a flare. Besides the physical issues, I've had some stressful things going on in my life.
I felt as though I was being attacked on all sides and no matter what I did, I could not protect myself from the blows. I thought " This must be what it feels like to run the gauntlet." The researcher in me wanted to know the origin of the phrase. I found quite interesting stuff. Here's the short version.
Dictionary.com defines the phrase as follows-
gaunt·let2 [gawnt-lit, gahnt-]
noun Also, gantlet (for defs 1, 2, 4).
a former punishment, chiefly military, in which the offender was made to run between two rows of men who struck at him with switches or weapons as he passed.
the two rows of men administering this punishment.
an attack from two or all sides.
trying conditions; an ordeal.
While I don't feel I am being punished and I don't actually see two rows of men waiting to pummel me, I do feel I am being tested. I believe God tests us to show us how strong we really are. A lot of my fellow Fatty Must Run Marathon Challenge girls are going through tough things. Many, it seems, are being hit on all sides as I have been.
I also believe that God has a tremendous sense of humor. Why else would my Pastor be preaching on David and Goliath right now? Why would we be learning all about "the fight before the fight the fight" that was going on before the showdown between the giant and the little man. This story is particularly fitting for us marathon girls if you think about it. David was not physically right for the challenge he was to face. Most would say we aren't fit for this challenge.In fact, someone has actually told me I will not be able to do this.
Part of the reason David was able to succeed was because he had not been listening to this giant hurling insults for the 39 days. His heart and mind were not full of the fear that kept the Israelites trembling in their tents. They had let Goliath live for free in the space between their ears. David had spent those 39 days singing and praising and fully focused. When David heard Goliath insulting God and his people David, in so many words said "Ya want some of this? Come and get it." When questioned by Saul about his ability to slay Goliath David told Saul "I have have been watching my fathers sheep and when a lion came and snatched one of the lambs I struck it and killed it. When a bear came and snatched one of the lambs I struck it and killed it." We need to be like David in that we need to be confident in our abilities and we need to keep the "giants" in the form of naysayers, insulting people etc. out of our heads.
Of course the gauntlets we are experiencing are not usually physical blows to our bodies. Our gauntlets or giants if you prefer come in the form of those thoughtless things people say or the bad habits we struggle to break or the problems we all face from financial to loss of a loved one to actual physical pain/injuries.
One of the interesting things I learned about running the gauntlet is that if the culprit was to make it to the end of the line upright his faults were forgiven and he could return to duty with a clean slate.
I imagined myself running the gauntlet, my body flinching with each blow and yet I remained upright. I refuse to quit. I don't expect that this will be an easy journey. Things will go wrong. Idiots will yell stupid things as they drive by me. People will doubt me. And that is okay.
Although, if it comes down to it I will CRAWL across the finish line if I have to!