Monday, June 23, 2008

Elemental, my dear Watson

I spent Sunday afternoon standing in the community garden at First Baptist Church, Springfield, chatting with and taking pictures of Adam and Kristie Stoddard. Adam commented that there is something spiritual about digging in the dirt, after all, it was the first job God gave us.

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...