F3::Gearing Up

One of my rules in life has been to never wear a shirt with a company logo on it.  I purposely avoided shirts with swooshes, or alligators, boars or whatever that Britches’ animal was.  My logic was why should I have to pay a company to become their walking billboard.

F3 has caused to me to break that trend as my car sports a bumper sticker, I wear the F3 visor, run in my F3Nation shirt, on cool mornings pull on my F3 pullover, have my QSchool keychain dangling from my car keys and even have slapped an F3 sticker over my iPad logo (tclaps MudGear).  Obsessive, yes, but on a recent solo run on the SwampRabbit trail in Greenville it got me thinking about a passage in the Bible that says we are “to put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” and to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

As I struck out, wearing my F3 shirt, on a trail in an unfamiliar city, I felt as though I was representing something bigger than myself.  I was thinking, who do I represent?  What clothes do I put on? Am I putting on a new self, or still just going through the motions?

As I ran along the river, I passed numerous people and greeted them.  But on the way back I went by a young woman near tears sitting on a bench obviously in the sifter.  I felt this nudging to stop and ask her if she was okay, but sprinted on.  Then it struck me, the back of my shirt had Fitness, Fellowship and FAITH written on it, as I just turned my back on her in order to keep my min/mile split at a decent pace.

So having a quick internal debate, I decided I needed to turn around.  As I double-backed I saw she was hunched over, eyes staring at the ground, in a severe Sadclown pose.  I slowed up to say, “hey”–no response–”you doing alright?” I pressed.
“yeah” she managed unreceptively, “I just don’t want to talk to a stranger.”
“Alright, well have a good day.” And off I went.  Nothing dramatic, right?  Kinda of a pointless encounter, and a little awkward.

What kicks me is a quarter mile, I came up with what I shoulda said next, “Yeah, me neither…but my name is Wes.” But I was too far gone and too far awkward to triple-back.  So what I realized was this encounter wasn’t actually for her, it was really for me.

How often do we run by other sadclowns without realizing it?  How many men do we keep at superficial stranger levels than forging into true 2ndFs? How much do we dress up the 3rdF, wear it on our backs, but never venture past our 1stF goals?

This week I heard a speaker say that “accountability before friendship is like a business transaction: impersonal and forced.  Real accountability emerges from spiritual friendships.” Or in F3 paralances by locking the 2nd and 3rd F shields.

As PAX of the nation, even if you don’t bear the logo as obsessively as I do, each of us carries that responsibility of struggling through the 1st F, to forge the 2nd F in order to tackle the 3rd F issues of life.

So gear up and get out there.

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