The Treadmill of Life

The other day I posted some reflections about life’s daily pleasures that were sparked by walking the dog through the neighborhood.  Today finds me at the Temple Terrace Recreation Center on the treadmill.

Now, this is not one of those new state-of-the-art exercise centers.  I’m a small room with concrete walls and a few narrow windows to see out.  In front of me are two Middle Eastern men carrying on a conversation in a language I can’t understand.  To the right, an elderly gentleman got on a treadmill carrying a book.  I greeted him with a cheery, “Hello.”  To which he uttered not a word. Not even a grunt.  He promptly put the machine on a slow speed and began reading.  To the left of me is a woman in a trance-like state, looking straight ahead.  At least, I have a small TV where I can watch some fair and balanced news on Fox!

All of this got me thinking about how walking the treadmill is like life.

We hear people talking about the treadmill of life being too hectic. And often with daily repeated, boring schedules. A mother laments that housework is a never-ending chore.  A student bemoans classes at school that are a drag.  Dad finds work wearisome.  Yet, there is something to be said for the treadmill.

My walk in the neighborhood was pleasant, relaxing, and interesting.  Today’s treadmill not so much.  But it was needful.  On the treadmill, I walk faster.  Increase my heart rate.  Burn more calories.  It may not be as much fun as a walk in the park, but it provides something I need.

Real-life consists of mopping the floors, taking out the trash and mowing the yard.  There are meals to be fixed.  Laundry to be done.  And bills to pay.  Just like the treadmill, it takes commitment, dedication, and persistence, to do life’s tasks.

The Ancient preacher observed, To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). There is a time for work.  And a time for play.  A time for pushing hard.  And a time to relax.  A time to roll up our sleeves to engage in the daily grind.  And a time to get away and unwind.

I think there are two keys that are needful.

One is balance. You can’t stay on the treadmill all the time!  When responsibility has been fulfilled, and duty has been discharged, it’s ok to slow down. Even Jesus took time off.  We see Him at the wedding feast. In the mountains. On the seashore.  Out in a boat.  Eating and enjoying life.

The second key is attitude.  I read once where 10% of life is filled with spontaneous good things. A pay raise. Awards. Promotions. Births.  These bring joy. Another 10% is filled with heartache and disappointment.  Financial difficulties. Sickness. Death.

But the remaining 80% of our time it’s up to us.  We can grumble, gripe and complain about the routines of life or we can embrace them. Enjoy them.  And serve God through them. The wise man advised, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Eccl. 9:10).  This will provide a sense of satisfaction of a job well done and a responsibility properly completed.

Well, the treadmill time is up.  On to more interesting machines to work out on.  But I’m looking forward to the bike ride home on a sunny day with a warm breeze blowing.  Ahh!  Kinda like real life, isn’t it?

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Life

4 responses to “The Treadmill of Life

  1. Until my late wife Donna and I obeyed the Gospel in 1974, having been taught by you and Norma, life was indeed a treadmill. There was effort, a desire to succeed, the hope of a “better life” for our children, but no real measurable progress. In short, the only product of our worldly labor was discouragement. Even the occasional “break” brought no improvement. We just were not going to arrive at any place we really wanted to be.

    The Gospel provided the answers we could not find, the guidance we so desperately needed, and the encouragement every soul must have in order to make this life a success. The Gospel changed our “treadmill” to nowhere into a “stairway” to Heaven.

    And, even though our journey here may have been frought with difficulties, those glorious stairs hard to negotiate at times, the promise of God remained stronger than our fears, brighter than the darkness that could blind us. 1Cor. 15:58 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord.”

    Thanks, Ken, for your “work of the Lord”..


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