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.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Weight of Wonder and a Feast

The trails wind out before us and our feet have touched a thousand places as the wonders have spread out before our eyes. We are captives of these fleeting glories, wanderers in this special world created for us by the loving hands of God. We are most blessed.

It is Tuesday morning, 8 December 2009, Kolkata India. Yesterday I ran a 5K on the hotel treadmill. Today I will do a 10K on the same machine. It has been over a month since I have written in this place about the trails we run and the struggles we face on the way. And like you all, the trails and challenges continue whether we write or not. Since the last time I wrote, I have traveled 45,000 miles and dusted the trails and treadmills in four counties on three continents. And the trails and struggles have attended me with each new place. Each fresh trail has offered a feast of difficulties and a feast of things to behold. Along with the struggles, I have found beauty and wonder that stretches my heart and sends my spirit to soaring to new heights. These wings to fly seem to come of the rarified air in the times of struggle and hardship. So I cannot turn away from the hard places. They are by design for my good. The difficulties seem to prepare our hearts to see with more clarity and insight. Is it the same for you?

Since I wrote of the old growth forests, the ancient trees and their abiding mystery, I have been many places – almost moving too quickly to pause and appreciate, to allow the air of each new place to tease me into a run and into fresh discoveries. Looking back over these weeks, the past lays out in a crazy, wandering line. But let me share. Late October found me pounding out a 10.36 mile trail run in the Reserva Ecologica in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In early November I managed a 10K and a 5K treadmill run in Sao Paulo, Brazil, followed a few days later by a 13.86 mile run in the Parque Ibirapuera. Returning to Buenos Aires in mid-November, I managed to squeeze in a 7.13 mile run in the Reserva Ecologica. Returning home, I had the opportunity to run a 5K on Thanksgiving (26 November). A good friend of mine, Brian, suggested running from his home (insert 6:30am start and 6.75 miles here) to the 5K event. It was wonderful. An early morning run in the pre-dawn darkness. My total for the day – 9.85 miles. In late November/early December, I returned to Buenos Aires only briefly – enough to drop a 5K on a treadmill – and head for home before coming to India. This is a recap of my last 9 runs.

I could almost fit these nine runs on the back of a postcard. But could I? No. It cannot be done. For truly each run, each experience and challenge we lay before ourselves and follow through on - each one carries a weight of wonder and a feast for the heart’s enchantment. A mere description of place and time and distance cannot capture the spirit of the place, the struggles and attitudes, the dark challenges that tell us to give up and quit; no mere recap can capture the lovely rays of light that dance on leaves, a thousand glimmering jewels of dew and the early morning breeze coming from the Río de la Plata near Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires. It takes your whole heart. It is not words, it is life. These are not mere facts to be listed. Rather, they are the fingerprints of the living God on our lives - His world spun into being by His own hand; and we are given the opportunity to handle it, to see and smell it’s deep hues, and wonder at it manifold complexities and mystery. We are given this window to see Him and know that He is there. I would not miss this for the world.

The trails will continue and the wonder will never cease. He is Lord and His world declares His greatness each time we slip on our shoes and start down a trail. We, each of us in our own way, begin to see Him more clearly and with greater reverence than the last trail we ran. I must run and I must declare His place along the road. Will you come along and see? Will you run the trails and watch for His unmistakable fingerprints in every living thing? I hope to see you soon. Let’s run together and see. Let’s run hard and true into the breaking light and the glories that abound.


Abbey von Gohren said...

This was so encouraging, Dad! I feel special making a cameo on your blog. : )

I love the line: "It takes your whole heart. It is not words, it is life."

Now I've got to go try and put part of it into words myself, though, in the form of a couple of term papers.

Love you!

Prabakar said...

Hi Henry, this is Prabakar, one of your student in the recently completed training session at Chennai, India. It's really great to see how committed you are on the 'running'. Also, your shutterbug did and doing a great job on the trails where you endorse your steps. Great pictures. Happy that I had the discussion with you on this one.

Hope you had a nice and safe flight back home.

Thanks for sharing the info on the blog spot. I will keep visiting this place.