So I’m writing this while sitting in Whataburger on Greenville in Dallas, rehydrating with Diet Coke, and getting a bit of work done before retrieving Cyndi from her workshop. I just got back from running around White Rock Lake. I can barely walk; probably because it has been six months since I’ve run nine miles nonstop.
My knees sang to me all the way around the lake, but I’ve heard that tune before and knew I could push it to the back of my mental playlist. The song was loudest during the first fifteen minutes, and surprisingly in the last fifteen minutes, which corresponded coincidently with the point when I could finally see my red pickup in the parking lot waiting for my return.
Too tired to change back into street clothes when I finished running, I put a towel on the driver’s seat to absorb the sweat while I drove back to the North Central Expressway. I found a semi-secluded parking space in the lot outside of Dick’s Sporting Goods on Park Lane. I didn’t actually care to be around civilized people yet, but this visit was the next item on my daily checklist so I had to go.
I was nervous the shopping center security guards would give me the big shakedown before I finished changing clothes. They were trolling back and forth through the parking lot in their white Ford Explorer with flashing yellow light, watching me fool around suspiciously in the front passenger seat of my pickup. Fortunately, they left me alone long enough that I got my jeans back on and finished dressing into dry clothes. (Changing clothes in the car after a run is a long-established family tradition.)
I’m afraid I looked even more suspicious as I peg-legged my way stiffly toward Dick’s, swaying side-to-side and grimacing. I scared myself a little. If I’d had a Frankenstein mask, it would have been perfect.
The trail around White Rock Lake had been uncharacteristically deserted, but of course it was Friday afternoon. This time out I saw more cyclists than runners. The lake looked good, healthy, and full of water, and it satisfied my heart and soul to make the big circle. It was worth any throbbing discomfort I felt while walking through Dick’s Sporting Goods.
While running I listened to two Phedippidations podcasts but didn’t finish either because the speaker wore me out with his rambling. I was caught up with Mosaic and Mars Hill podcast sermons, so I listened to three NPR technology podcasts and two NPR book podcasts. It was nine miles of introvert perfection.
I’ll admit, it bothers me that I don’t write about running as much as I used to. It’s partly because I don’t run as often or as far. I think I have to go at least four or five miles to earn any original thoughts, and lately most of my runs have been shorter than that.
I’m willing to write about new things, such as backpacking or cycling, but so far I enjoy writing about running more. I don’t go backpacking often enough to set a pattern, and cycling doesn’t yet speak to my heart the way running does. That could be because I have to pay more attention to what I’m doing while cycling, so I don’t get into traffic or run off the road. But it’s more likely I need more time on my bike to increase my comfort level. It took many months of running, maybe years, before my brain learned to wander.
I suppose there are no specific activities that God chooses for communication, but he speaks to each of us through the unique activities of our lives. And I suppose we all have to reach a comfort level with any activity so we are not worried exclusively about pain and suffering, but our mind can go free. Even traditional spiritual disciplines like daily Bible reading, prayer, or journaling may demand time before they speak to your heart. We have to get over the discipline hump, first.
But even as my knees have slowed my pace and reduced my frequency, there are few things I love more than running down a trail. So I can’t believe this phase is behind me, or that God has shifted his methods with me. I believe he would’ve removed the desire in my heart by now if it was time to move on.
PS: I have foot surgery scheduled for the end of March, to correct an ugly bunion and a crooked hammer toe on my right foot. This won’t fix my biggest problem, solvable only by knee replacement, but it will keep me on my feet and moving down the road a bit longer. It will also make it simpler to find shoes that fit.
QUESTION: When does God speak to you? Is there a certain activity when it happens more often?
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32
To learn about Berry’s books, “Running With God,” go to www.runningwithgodonline.com , or “Retreating With God,” go to www.retreatingwithgod.com ,… Follow Berry on Twitter at @berrysimpson or on Facebook … Contact Berry directly: firstname.lastname@example.org … To post a comment or subscribe to this free journal: www.journalentries.org