The first time that I ever did any regular, serious running was in college. I can’t really say that I was all that serious about it. I had to take two health classes for my degree. So, I took running class. Three times a week, we met as a class and headed out onto the streets of Salem, running in clumps all over the place. It wasn’t terribly hard unless our professor decided to run with you. He was fast. Most of the time he didn’t bother me and I ran with my buddy, Kevin. Lucky for us, his grandmother lived right in town and so we’d interrupt our run for a visit at her house for about twenty minutes. We’d watch some tv, get a bowl of ice cream, throw some water on our faces, and head back out for the last half-mile of the run.
Those lazy runs turned into a real love of running that I amplified in seminary and beyond. Something special happens after I have been out running for a bit. I feel like I come alive. God feels closer than ever. The prayers I say become real conversations between me and God. Other than Communion, I have never found anything that is nearly as special for me.
However, for all those years, I have had a knee problem. It was around before I started running. My left knee cap doesn’t track in its little groove quite right. So, sometimes I can run 12 miles … other times I can only pull off 2 miles before it starts hurting. Then the running has to come to a stop.
The hardest part about stopping running is the addictive closeness I get with God during that time. Not running requires a major attitude readjustment. That is not something I specialize in. However, I know that I have to try. Sitting around, feeling sorry for myself, and not praying don’t work.
Right now, my knee has been hurting for the first time in many years. So, I’m going through an attitude adjustment. As Lisa reminded me, “You’re getting older.” I won’t be able to run forever. However, I know that God will always be there, wherever and however I choose to arrange the meeting. That gets me through another day, gives meaning to my life, and brings me great joy!