How I Love to Run

photo copy 14

These days, my running isn’t going so well. I leave the house with a fear that I may get only feet from my door before a muscle cramp will cripple me for another day. Still, I am thankful that I am able to even make the effort. For, on the other pole, it is possible that today will be my breakthrough day – the day when all of the sudden I am back, able to push on beyond my 1.55 mile minimum turnaround — and venture up into the hills, my hills. My mountains. Yes, today may be the day!

How I love to run! I am quite fortunate, by God’s grace, to have not only the ability to run — most days — but also the time — most days. Just now, as I look across the open landscape beyond our lake, the wild pines and twisted shrubs waving in the clear wind, I prep my mind and heart for this day’s venture. I have my iPhone all set to go, cued up with Eric Metaxas’ excellent biography of Christ-follower Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I am in the second of 3 seven-hour segments of the audio, gripped by the intriguing descriptions of a dedicated man’s walk of faith to death amidst the living nightmare of World War II Germany. As I step out for my run, I shall click play and be transported to that more important story, to a race more real than that which plays out in my daily run — or walk, as things may go this day.

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 11.08.34 AM

There is a great solace in looking with perspective upon the issues we daily confront in our lives. Though on a personal level for me today, it is a trial to push to run with a disheartened soul, knowing that my ability to enjoy this favorite pastime is largely beyond my control. Yet, when considered in light of the horrifying travails of those like Bonhoeffer who were forced to take a stand for life or death, it all becomes smaller. My problems seem no problems at all. Rather, truly — as the cliche has it — opportunities.

Yesterday, a mile into my “run” my left calf suddenly failed with what I can only describe as a brittle sensation — like my tendons are thin threads of glass, and similarly fragile. I had been coursing along well enough, when one “thread” seemed to shatter just a bit. I walked again.

But I did not turn for home immediately. Instead, I intended to walk to my turn-around. Edging along the broad sweep of parched meadow, looking forward to the fence-line which marks my course, I suddenly noticed what I had not before: a path off to my immediate right, whispering sideways and tangling up, directly up the rocky slope before me. I took it.

What I had not noticed before, as I cruised by with no doubt parched, serious brow, all too intent on covering ground, I now discovered. I hiked up and up, through ¬†brambles and bee nests buzzing, along scrub covered rocks and rough scree faces, and I found a perch. There I stopped. This, no ordinary run. And I took in the view, the clouds and gentle wind, and I thought. And prayed. “Your will, O Lord. Not mine.”

Shall I run this day? I know not but that I will try. But whether I do or not is of no real importance. More important truly is that I look and listen.

“…and I found a perch. There I stopped. This, no ordinary run. And I took in the view, the clouds and gentle wind, and I thought. And prayed. ‘Your will, O Lord. Not mine.'”

Off to lace up to see what’s in store!

Keep seeking!

~Patrick

image credit: yours truly:) & amazon.com