Like the act of gardening, there is something spiritual about running. Chris Cook, pastor of Parkade Baptist Church in Columbia, enjoys telling others that running is the only Biblical sport. I must admit that Paul's words about running toward the goal held different meaning for me after my half marathon in April.
But I suppose a Bible-reference doesn't make any action more spiritual than any other (otherwise I need to trade in my car for either the Disciples' Accord or a mule... and I don't think a mule would fit my apartment complex's pet policy!).
The rhythm of running somehow clears my mind. While that sounds easy enough, my OCD makes that a near miracle -- my mind is NEVER clear. I'm always thinking of at least 50 things, usually in a cycle that makes no sense to anyone without this lovely disorder. But when running, my brain quiets.
I haven't yet found the ability to pray while pounding the pavement, but somehow the act itself seems like an act of prayer -- perhaps an offered prayer for those things beyond my comprehension, and therefore beyond words.
Running serves as a reminder that we are intricately and wonderfully made -- and that our bodies are capable of far more than we imagine.
In running, I remember those basics. The time away from cell phones and noise distractions (I've found recently that running with an mp3 player seems to crowd my head -- when Coach Rod first mentioned that about himself, I thought "whoa, I'll never be there." A month later, I decided to grab my player on the way out the door and couldn't stand it.) beyond the occasional passing car, birds and toads. The view of creation as I waddle past. Even the quickened heart rate and huffing and puffing of my breathing serve as pointers to something greater...