Horseshoes & Hand Grenades


Yesterday I went for my first run in over a month…if one could call the aggregate of my languid progression a run! As I approached the end of my three mile loop, the sensation of nausea set with a fury. Barely holding it together and baking in the noonday heat, my pace, though inconceivable, slowed even further, retarding into a man convulsing his way down the street rather than a gazelle in stride. With less than 200m left I thought, “I should just walk the rest of the way home. I mean…I’ve practically finished!” There are times in life where the river of time has irregular flow, hasting and abating with its ebb and flow, allowing the brain and/or heart to process in an instant what would normally take hours, if not days. As I rounded the home stretch, I experienced such a time. With stammering feet my brain “threw down the gauntlet“, an override my body hasn’t experienced in a long time. “Close enough? Close enough?! Aaron, you have been in a season of half-assing everything you’re a part of…your devotional life, your dating life, your physical fitness, fasting, sabbaths, sobrieties, and the conversations you desire to have with your father. When are you going to properly finish something you start? Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades!”

Within the seconds which this “pep-talk” had been processed, a renewed vigor and strengthening of conviction had been found. A run which had started rather mundane and innocuous, all of a sudden carried the weight of my entire life. On a peaceful Monday afternoon, my manhood rested on how I was going to finish this run. With arms-a-pumping and a tucked head, there was no way I was stopping short of the finish line. That is to say, until I happened to notice a small metallic object laying in the middle of the road. Over the past several years, I have made it my custom to remove such nails and screws from the streets of San Diego. An act I see as my “good deed of the day,” preventing flat tires and the ensuing inconveniences one suffers one lance at a time. Upon the viewing of this providentially positioned screw, two world views collided as I charged the finish. To stop, or not to stop, that was the question. It was then when I realized, “don’t lose the forrest through the trees.” In recognizing what was happing on a grand scale, I stopped, picked up the screw, then trotted victoriously across the finish. As we each run our race we are given ample amounts of grace to continue the pursuit of our callings. This grace however, is by no means an excuse to dodge actions which are intended for us to take. In reflecting on my run, I realized it was time to take action.

Too much of life is compromise…no more!

There are natural vistas of reflection along everyone’s journey. These are most commonly observed around new year’s eve, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. Anytime a person transitions from one season to another there is a restructuring of priorities…a calibration if you will, which fits the new rhythms of life. Currently I am undergoing said calibration. Next week I begin a one year residency as a chaplain for SHARP Memorial hospital. In preparation, especially in the wake of my run, I have been analyzing my priorities…an energizing endeavor. As I press into this new season I look forward to:

  • Strengthening my devotional life (waking up at 6am to read and journal)
  • Establishing a healthy rhythm of Sabbath (resting well and doing life giving activities on Saturdays, doing my best to do zero errands)
  • Being committed to the upkeep of my physical fitness (running four days a week, doing yoga for two, and dancing for one)
  • Remaining faithful to the discipline of fasting (fasting on Tuesdays)
  • Actively seeking opportunities to engage my dad in conversations of meaning and substance, and…if at all possible, discover how dating fits into all of this.

With a forward gaze the words of the prophet Zechariah resound from within, “Not by power, nor by might, but by my Spirit declares the LORD.”

Unmasked & Unfiltered

Author: Aaron Buttery

A man in process.

6 thoughts on “Horseshoes & Hand Grenades”

  1. As I sit here debating whether I should do more work or just chill, your blog hits my screen.

    I’m up and ‘running’!

    Thank you.


  2. I enjoy your writings and usually learn something each time I read something you’ve written. I’d love to hear how the conversations with your Dad go.


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