A few articles ago, I wrote about my first F3 experience.
F3 stands for Faith, Fitness and Fellowship. Men get together at 5:30 a.m. and work out with one another. I went to one workout but couldn’t keep up and left 20 minutes into it.
This past July, my son, Ed, pushed me to go to a F3 workout. We found one on Saturday that started at 7 a.m., not 5:30 a.m. It was also designed for older men. I went for three weeks but no one showed up so I ran by myself around the track.
A week after publishing the article, I received a call from Michael. He and his F3 friends read my article and felt bad about my experience. They invited me to join them for their F3 workout.
The good news is that it started at 7 a.m. and was on a Saturday. Bad news is they meet in Denver. I live by the Speedway. It would be a 40-minute drive. For whatever crazy reason, I agreed.
I arrived at 6:45 a.m. I was greeted by a group of men who were tossing around a football. I still had 10 more minutes for the world to end, so I could avoid the workout. It didn’t happen.
Sonar (his F3 name) greeted me. We chatted and he introduced me to the group. Then I met Spork (or Michael). I thanked him for the invitation. He introduced me to the F3 guy who first read my article.
They opened in prayer. We started with calisthenics. I felt like I was back in seventh grade gym class. Then Heaven appeared for the first of two times.
We were told to run. Did Spork not read my first article where I didn’t do well running? As I began to run, Spork ran alongside me. He was in great shape, yet he chose to run slowly, very slowly with someone who was out of shape. He said if we needed to walk, we could do that and he would walk with me. Then I entered Heaven when he said, “I’m not going to leave you behind.”
The workout continued as we were divided into two groups. It wasn’t as hard as I thought. Afterward, we went behind the school where we exercised using large rocks, very large rocks. Sonar personally handed me a little rock. We stood in a circle and lifted the rocks in the air. I thought this couldn’t be hard since I had a little rock. That was until they rotated after each exercise around the circle, leaving their rock for the next person. Each person used someone else’s rock. I would have to go from my little rock to their very big rock. Yet, each member of the group rotated around me. I kept my little rock while they shared their heavy rocks. They were committed to my success.
Then we ran down the hill. When we got back up, we were told to go back down again. Sonar went down the hill with me. I watched as the others were much faster, yet he stayed with me, encouraging me, ensuring that I had a good experience.
I wasn’t just one of 11 men who came to exercise at that F3 workout. I was cared for, encouraged, and not left behind. Some of them gave up pushing themselves to ensure that “I wasn’t left behind.”
For one hour, I touched heaven. I met men who didn’t make it about themselves; they made it about someone else. Isn’t that what I see in Jesus? He didn’t make it about Himself; he made it about us.
I’ll be back in a few weeks. Until then, live well my friend.
The Rev. Tony Marciano is the executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. Visit www.charlot terescuemission.org for details.