Mona Lisa

“When did you lose interest in your own story?” was the question that came from the pulpit a few weeks ago. For me, I am passionately (and comically) interested in my own story: my ups and downs, triumphs, loses, and goals on the horizon. The Mona Lisa was a masterpiece that Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years on. It never ceased to interest him. The subject is intriguing (yes), and the background is sweeping and stunning.

The waterfall in the Mona Lisa is my favorite feature. It makes me remember a documentary on da Vinci, and the supposition that he had a “fast eye.” In a time before cameras, his eyes (are thought by some) to have incredible “shutter speed.” He could capture birds in flight and see their wings and feathers. He could watch a fountain and see the individual drops of water. It’s no wonder he had to draw, paint, and invent what he saw and imagined.

From Miracle by Shinedown, the lyric “My Mona Lisa’s making me smile” makes me think about Da Vinci smiling at his work as he painted that smile. At the same time, it is Shinedown referring to something as his “Mona Lisa.”

Some people think the Mona Lisa is a self-portrait of da Vinci. (Most scholars don’t think so, but it is an interesting theory.) And if so, what a joke it is! And the joke is on us, because there’s da Vinci with a smile on his face about the secret he will take to his grave. He’s long gone, and we are filing past him in the Louvre, and still not quite able to figure that smile out.

I thought about that in terms of the running I do. It puts a secret (sly?) smile on my face. No one knows the full pleasure that I derive from this pursuit. It is a secret that I cannot share, because I can’t articulate it.

Jesus said, “It is finished.” And when I do my next race, this round of training will be finished. But the quarry is never captured. The game (set. match.) is never won. The portrait is never “done.” There is always a horizon to scan and a waterfall to describe. There’s always a mountain beckoning me to mount it, to soar up, and burn down to the sea.

Now, Boston 2016 is my Mona Lisa. I have a half, a full, and then Boston itself to get it right. I will be reviewing my training plans and revising them. Each mile is a brush stroke; and if I put them together well, with God’s grace, my Mona Lisa will make me smile.

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