Saturday, July 6, 2013

Lessons along the running road.

      I went for my regular Saturday run this morning to strengthen my body and empty my mind.
     Along the way I saw my shadow running next to me and was reminded that I am not a runner because I run..... I run because I am a runner. Likewise, I am not a child of my Father in heaven because of what I do..... but rather what I do is because I am a child of my Father.
     Sadly, I saw a dead bluebird. It is my favorite bird. No bird lifts my heart like the flash of a bluebird across the sky. I was reminded that happiness is but a fleeting emotion and is no substitute for the joy of life that comes from being freed from the things of this world that oppress.
     I saw a smashed turtle. In the words of a little zombie boy on a youtube video, "I like turtles." Having saved one a few days ago from a similar fate, I was reminded that acts of kindness are beautiful in the moment, but are only glimpses of the kingdom of heaven that is truly here but so elusive. I was reminded that slow and steady doesn't always win the race nor does fast and erratic, because it's not a race to begin with but a journey to be taken at my pace so that I might pick up some pearls along the way.
     I saw an empty condom box and was reminded that real love isn't found there, but was reminded that my bride, my lover, my best friend returns tomorrow from loving little ones in Swaziland, Africa for the Father's kingdom. I can't wait to tell her I've missed her, sit with her, hold her hand and hear of her great adventure.
     I saw an empty pack of cigarettes and was reminded of the things of this world that I have not only overcome, but more importantly simply transcended.
     I ran past a line of little flags in a front yard, still standing proudly two days after our great Independence Day celebration. I was reminded that it is ok to take pride in my country and its contributions to the world, but I must also not be blind to the evil it has done.
     A cyclist passed by me and was the first to smile, wave, and wish me a "good morning". I was taken aback, and reminded not to stereotype certain people into groups as unfriendly when they generally don't acknowledge you as they pass.
     I ran past a discarded little flag laying in the dirt from our great Independence Day celebration and was reminded that nationalism and patriotic pride are but a fleeting substitute for citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. I was reminded that Jesus wasn't an American and that the American way is not His truth and way.
     I passed an old gentleman out walking, with whom I had a very interesting and personal conversation with a few months ago. As I waved and said hello, he did the same, but I knew he didn't recognize me as anyone but a passerby. I was reminded that we are each others angels whether our clouded and aged minds remember each other or not. Some things are shared by our souls and possibly never forgotten.   
     I passed by the Grapevine Baptist cemetery and was reminded sadly that soon enough I will take the route of the bluebird and turtle. I was then filled with the joy of knowing that one day I will soar on to incredible and wonderful journeys beyond my ability to imagine.
     I went for my regular Saturday morning run today and returned with even more than what I hoped for.
                  "But the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view and
                    we'll live a long life.
                    So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
                   'Cause oh they gave me such a fright.
                    But I will hold as long as you like
                    Just promise me we'll be alright.
                                              "Ghosts that We Knew.", Mumford and Sons.