After making what was a rather hasty visit to Canada I realize that I have not had the time to write for a long time. Much has happened, but little of it is of significance. I recall reading the words of Roald Dahl in “Going Solo” that “A life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones.” As well, what may be “enthralling” to me, is not necessarily memorable for all.
I’ve decided to change the template on the blog, and have considered going to a paid rate to get better services, as well as many other features. Now that the GDPR rules are enforce I wonder if I should write anything at all, and if so, shall I still link them to Facebook, or Twitter. All this is not the real reason I write. The real reason I write is that I have an assignment in a Spiritual Direction course to complete, and well, the procrastination is ever present. I have made several stabs at writing my paper on “How does one grow in intimacy with God?” and I am now in the editing phase.
Intimacy with God is a fickle thing. There are times when some of the basics become just that – too basic – and I search for some other possibilities. I am loth to write an easy answer that sounds like a self-help easy 10 steps to Spiritual Enlightenment. At the moment, along with the classical examples of prayer and Bible reading, I have found running to be a quiet centre where I commune with God.
I have been active in running or jogging since living in Vancouver. As a child I recall loving to run, until a diagnosis of Asthma happened and it felt as though I had a pillow stuffed over my face, or like I was trying to breathe through a thin plastic straw. Eventually, having a lot of time alone and going to university, I was determined to run as some kind of exercise – an activity that was not expensive. Over time, running along with walking became easier and easier. The asthma no longer seemed present and I felt that I could extend my runs for longer periods of time. I participated in the Vancouver Sun Run a number of times, the Grouse Grind Race, various seasonal ‘fun runs’, and several other Vancouver area runs.
The journey back to Canada to visit family was focused and short, but I wanted to include a race to help keep my mind set on some kind of goal. I found that the Shaughnessy 8k was on so I submitted my entry form and fee and waited for the big day. The run had appeal as it was around the area in which I began running in ernest, and it was also a race for the good cause of cancer research. Lapping up the nostalgia as I lapped the neighbourhood was what I was expecting. What I did not remember was how hilly the route was! From a steep initial incline, to the gradual rolling streets, it was a far cry of running for many kilometres down the German side of the Rhein!
My daughters stood on the side of the street screaming at me to run faster as the finish approached, and my father was able to be present for the race as well. After having intended to go for a short run a couple of days prior to the race I became lost (poor signage) and circumnavigated most of a nature park only to return to the parking lot 5 minutes after other family members had finished their 4 km hike to see that I had completed 17 km of running through what was mostly elbow-high grass rather than trail. Having now over-trained prior to the 8k race I felt unprepared and more than just a little winded as I climbed the first hill. Running, with feet pounding the street, breathing paced, and sweat dripping down the forehead, are all paths to growing in intimacy with God. “God, when will this end!”, may have been the prayer at one point in the race, but overall it is a style of meditation that draws me closer to God.
At the end of the race I was shocked to learn that I had won a door prize, and later, that I was called up for winning 3rd place for my age category. And if you are thinking as my brother did; I can tell you there were more than three people in the 40-44 age group.
Now having returned for some weeks to Germany I continue to run on a regular basis looking for scenic routes, for longer and longer distances, or even a quick jog that I can fit into my schedule.
Reading in a German running magazine the responses from various runners when asked if they thought it correct to greet other runners while out on your own run (I think only in Germany would this be an issue) I liked one gentleman’s response, in that he waves to everything but the trees because as he runs through the forests he doesn’t often see other people, so takes every opportunity to wave. So far, of the places I have ventured to run in Europe, I have enjoyed Switzerland the most. The scenery of both the Rhein, the Münsterplatz of old city of Basel, the parks, and the people (all of whom waved), have made it an enjoyable place to grow closer in intimacy with God.
Now that I have probably outdone myself in word-count and run-on-sentences for this blog post it is probably wise to head back to the paper on spiritual direction…or maybe there is still time for another run.