And the day God breathed upon your still life, stirring into being the green leaf and the flower, bud upon the branch and light
upon your soul. Here you felt the earth’s air on your petals and your leaves, and squinted into sunlight, gazing high for heaven
until you felt the gardener’s hand gently turning soil and soul, and nurturing you, bud in radiant sun.
Cascading rain absorbed in warm earth turning, heaven of fragrance. What is that sound in the wind and dazzling light?
Oh, the sweet sound of your delight in God. Sometimes it is like the sound of running laughter.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Discipline and Wonder

Sometimes I reluctantly go running; like yesterday. Although I had been mentally planning a pre-dawn run for the morning and had laid out all my running gear, when the morning actually came, well… all my excitement and anticipation evaporated into the warm and comfortable folds of the hoodie I was wearing during morning devotions. “I do not need to run today?” I assured myself. In the end, though, I pushed myself out the door with the view that I did need to run; I need these basic disciplines. I need regular scheduled runs, and cross training, and – yes! – I need goals. I need this stuff. A quick change into my running gear and I was out the door. It was about 8F and calm. I felt good in the morning air. I had new mittens I was trying out as I headed for a nearby wooded area. Ok, my hands will stay warm this morning.

About a mile from my home a few moments after 10am I ducked into Birch Island Park. This is a secluded and little known resource in our area. I had not been here much in the past fifteen years, but thought I should explore things afresh. First, I tried out some recent additions by the local municipalities, a tidy new little footbridge and some official, paved walkways. I appreciated them, but they were just a tease. No real miles to lay down, no real effort or adventure. Then I really got excited when I saw the footprints in the snow wandering off into the woods. A trail! I was on it in a moment, and what a fine morning it turned out to be. This fresh, clear morning air and sun shining through the trees, the quiet of the woods in snow, the loveliness and glory of creation all around me - Oh joy! I scampered around in Birch Island for almost two hours logging just under 8.5 miles with elevation changes of about 1160ft ascending and descending. It was up a hill and down a slope and through the trees and around the bend and up another hill and along a ridge and repeat and again and more sun and fresh air and praise coming from every pore of my being acknowledging my Creator and His beautiful work. We do not deserve this glorious world to enjoy. We are so blessed – especially on days like yesterday in the woods. On such days we savor the wonder and let our hearts lift in the sheer grand beauty.

So there I was breathing deep with my heart open wide, beginning to most deeply and wonderfully enjoy my experience in the woods when it occurred to me - I came to that place by practically dragging myself out of the house. I came to that peaceful woodland sanctuary after a serious mental struggle. My other me wanted to hang back and stay cozy and skip the run. But it was the adherence to the discipline that put me in a situation so pleasing, so fine, so altogether-other. The discipline led me to a fresh experience of the divine, a new taste of creation, a fresh view of my Lord as The Artist, a peaceful woodland run, a blessing from His own hands. Wow! What if I would have missed this?

Remember those morning devotions. Sometimes I reluctantly read my Bible. This is another discipline for me – but far more critical and very necessary. I really need the time with God to read His Word and pray. I need the time with Him to set my steps aright. Each day has too many distractions, and His Word is my daily feast. I pray that these disciplines will keep me facing heavenward. The Lord is my high passion; let me run after Him.

1 comment:

Abbey von Gohren said...

All of these things are so true...thank you for writing them down for us to enjoy.