Running Under the Stars

26 02 2007

I surprised myself tonight during my thrice-a-week run around the soccer field, smashing my goal of 15 laps by going 20 laps – a goal I thought would take another week or two to reach. Make no mistake: it took about 2 months of weekly running to get to this point. I started with 3 laps non-stop, and each time I hit the field, I added another lap, trying to work my way towards the 20-lap mark.
I must give credit to my playlist this evening: I kicked the first three laps in the butt listening to (ahem) You’ve Got to Fight for Your Right (to Party) by the BeastieBoys. This was followed by Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen, then Sugar, We’re Going Down by Fallout Boy. By this time, I had done maybe 15 laps. I skip to Dare You to Move by Switchfoot, and as I muse over the lyrics and how they’ve influenced my life, I find myself daring myself to do 5 more. I jump to U2’s soaring anthem Where the Streets Have No Name and I discover that 20 laps isn’t impossible as I once thought.

But bragging about my record isn’t the reason I’m posting this (when I can do 50 laps nonstop, then maybe I’ll start bragging) – rather, I share this inorder to give the next few paragraphs some context; you see, when I run, God overtakes me.

No, I don’t run faster, like Eric Liddell (one of my heroes) ; instead, I find that I can do some of my clearest thinking when I run – despite the aches in the muscles and the continuous shortness of breath.

Indeed, I find myself confronted with lies I have told myself – only now I can see right through them, and I am ashamed I ever believed them to begin with. I find myself listening carefully to the songs on my playlist – and realizing that when Switchfoot sings “Dare you to move…”, its really God speaking to me, reminding me that forgiveness can be found right where I fell and not a few miles (or a few days) into the future.

A few times, as I cool down from the run by walking 2 or 3 laps, I find myself wanting to pray – and I mean really pray; none of those pretentious litanies that one rattles-off when wanting to appear holy. I thank God for a body that works – a marvel when I consider those who are missing an appendage or two. I pray for my students(!) – asking for God to have mercy on them as they try to make sense of the world around them and who they are in the midst of so many voices screaming for their attention; No topic seems too silly, for when I sit in the middle of the field under the moon and stars, and as I empty my heart and mind before God – when the wind blows past me, moving the leaves on the trees at the edge of the field – I find that its not difficult to believe that God is listening to me.

Small wonder, therefore, that I don’t need a whole lot of motivation to run, for what begins as an attempt to lose weight (something which I have succeeded in doing) eventually ends as a meeting with the God who created me – and to my delight, I always find Him waiting.




One response

10 03 2007

you are a complete stranger to me, but I was really struck by this line of thought you had here:

“…forgiveness can be found right where I fell and not a few miles (or a few days) into the future…”

it was as if you have known of my anxiety, of my problem all along. I’m still struggling through it, but what you wrote opened my eyes and made me realize (yet again) that God is not cruel, He is not unforgiving, but instead, His mercy overflows, and all of it, for us.

Thank you, stranger, for touching my life in ways i could never imagine. May God bless you.

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