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.

Monday, April 13, 2009

And Then There Were the Birds

Recently as my days in Sao Paulo clicked by, I put down some treadmill miles trying not to push myself too hard for fear of a relapse in my illness. On 7 April I logged an hour for about 5 miles. And then came Thursday 9 April, the day of my departure and my scheduled late evening flight traveling overnight back home. My original plan had been to weave in a nice long run on this final day and then head for the airport. Should I or not? Should I risk a relapse? Well, I certainly needed to test my limits before my upcoming race in a few weeks. So I better try and do some kind of run.

With all this heady logic behind me – yeah, right – I went and had a good breakfast. Then I made a few preparations and headed out of my hotel with hydration pack and supplies. I just had a feeling that this would become an opportunity for me to dig a little deeper and honestly to challenge my limits. It was a few minutes before 10am in Sao Paulo. The day was fabulous as I moved into the Parque Ibirapuera. During my run the temperature climbed from 71-75F with 80% humidity. Skies had a few drifting clouds along with a radiant Brazilian sun. I ran for 4 hours 44 minutes covering 21.7 miles for a pace of 13:05 per mile. My watch told me that I had climbed 4509 feet and descended 4584. The other day I wrote about the trails in this park and did not think there was much up or down. I was definitely wrong. I did six laps through the park, and I was in good shape until the final one. Then I faded very rapidly with all of my energy gone. I'm guessing this was purely a fueling issue that I will analyze before any events or long runs.

The park is planted deep in the middle of the fourth largest city in the world. For much of each of my circuits I edged along a trail just inside an iron fence bordering the park at its outermost. Elsewhere, for a very short period I tracked along a concrete sidewalk. I had the choice to eschew the concrete and stay with the dirt. I close the “urban trail”, the dirt, which included interesting obstacles such as foot-high anthills, curbs, and occasional pipes protruding from the ground. I ran for over 3 hours amid the sound of my own thoughts and prayers, and then turned on my tunes to push myself along. The beauty was so stunning that it just kept lifting the Lord into my thoughts as I thought of Him. Can our thoughts burn like sweet incense before the Lord? Our praises rise from the melodies of our hearts? And then there were the birds. I snapped a few pictures along the way for you, but many of the most interesting were also the most shy and quick to flight, much like twinkling sunlight at the edges on the surface of a lake, a moment of glorious light and then gone.

Throughout my run as my feet were weaving their way along the trail, my heart was weaving its way along a stream of prayers and praise. These days I am often overcome with His faithfulness to me. If you are like me, you feel most unworthy of such a true friend as Jesus. He remains faithful in every circumstance and challenge. Sure, He sustains me when I run. In fact, during my run in the park that day, I often felt like He was carrying me on wings, light of foot, effortless, and even resting. At other times, He asked me to believe that He would sustain me without giving me the physical lift. But think about it. He also offers His hand in companionship on the harder trails we face, the trails of day-to-day struggles and life. He is there for me, my truest friend, when the way grows difficult and my heart wearies under the load. He is there at the numerous crossroads to encourage me rightly. And He knows me through and through. As David said, “For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” [Psalm 103:14] So there it is. He is my constant friend, sharing in my life, sharing in the trails and running the race with me. Just give me a few moments to say, “Thank you“, to Him. OK. Now I’ll be off along another pathway and adventure. I can just hear your footsteps along side me. Let’s get moving, the wonder is just beginning.

1 comment:

Abbey von Gohren said...

How funny, I took pictures of birds on MY run a couple of days ago. I never do that!