Thursday, 13 February 2014

Four short stories from a long winter

 In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon says
 "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again, there is nothing new under the sun."
 Not to disagree with Solomon as everything in life probably does have a cycle but in my six years of running outside during the winter, this winter I have experienced three new things, and hopefully this cycle of weather does not return again for a long time.
 One morning a warm front came in on the heels of a very cold front. A heavy fog was the result.
 This was a day set aside for my long run so it was interesting to not be able to see more than ten feet in front or behind me, and yet I was able to run my planned route as the fog would clear just enough as I ran.
 I thought of the fog in terms of earlier in my life. I had goals, ambitions, and dreams for myself and my family. All worthwhile pursuits, but I was lacking something very meaningful.
  Michelle Lorimar used to be a worship leader at my former Church. These are her words from a song she wrote about getting to Jesus`s heart or in my opinion the moment the fog lifts.
 To those who seek your face
 You show your splendour
 You draw us near until we stand in wonder
 And as we gaze your beauty overflows
 To those who seek your hand
 You pour out blessing
 You break the bread and pour the sweetest wine
 You take the cup of sorrow and refill it with living water from the throne of God
 To those who seek your heart
 You share your sorrow
 You share your pain, your suffering and shame
 You seek the lost, the wounded and the weary
 You give us love to turn to them again
 O let me be consumed by love that suffers
 And send me out to minister your grace
 Finding Jesus`s heart for me came the day that I learned of the children who suffer in Cambodia and decided to act on this knowledge.
 The words from this song came back to me at a good time. I am ramping up my training. I am starting to feel "tired of being tired", and this will only increase as I get ready for my spring marathon. I have to plan each week in advance and hope the weather cooperates. Those closest to me will notice I am starting to have a little less patience than normal.
Yet while getting closer to the heart of Jesus does hold pain it also is the place of beauty and I have never regretted anything I have done while trying to accomplish His work. 
A fog also protects me now. Do I want to know my future? I don`t. Do I want to see negative experiences, events, forces and people waiting to harm me or my family? Again I don`t. What I have is a clear destination of travel that is revealed a little bit at a time not too much at once, same as my running in the fog.
 What did the Coyote say?
 This is a play on words as there was a very popular song titled What does the fox say?
 This is one of three signs on my path in the ravine. I had not paid much attention to it, although I know that coyotes frequent this ravine as I have read of coyotes attacking small dogs in Mississauga.
 One day I came across this in my ravine
 Fortunately for me middle aged runners were not on her menu this morning and the coyote ran off into the bush.
 I thought of the coyote as an enemy to the deer, rabbits, mice, beaver, squirrels, and birds I see during my runs.
 I thought of our reactions to people we view as enemies. If a traumatic event is involved fear may be present. Many times we are angry and bitter many years after an event. Sometimes we hate and despise whole races of people for events that have taken place in history.
 I thought of Jesus`s charge to us about our enemies.
 Matthew 5 vs 44
 "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
 Jesus lived up to this, as an example He prayed for God to forgive those who put him on the cross.
 I fall short of praying for my friends and family so please don`t ask me how often I pray for the people I consider my enemies.
 I than wondered what brought the coyote out on such a cold day? Probably the coyote was hungry? Possibly this was a female coyote who was pregnant.
 I felt sympathy for the coyote and prayed it would find a meal (although I asked for something that it would find that had just died of natural causes.) I realize my hypocrisy as I eat meat I have trouble when thinking of it being killed.
 What did the coyote say? Life is too short to hate and to carry grudges. If someone wrongs me or someone I love I believe God will have the final say, also I have to remember to respect and to love others at all times for every being is created in God`s image. Sin is sin, and sin that hurts others should not be tolerated but I have to be careful to not let what I believe is righteous anger turn to bitterness or hatred.
 The icebergs are back (very early)
 Icebergs are what I usually call the ice that breaks free from the river and is pushed onto the shore. This usually happens in about April. This year it happened in January.
 Seeing the icebergs usually encourage me as the winter is usually over, spring is here and I am usually very close to starting and than hopefully finishing a marathon.
Spiritually the icebergs represent something else. One year a wise lady related to me how each person involved in such a huge task as trying to stop the giant known as sexual child exploitation has a unique role. She likened it to chipping at a giant iceberg, and ended our correspondence with the words "keep chipping Larry."
 What is ironic is that she was trying to cheer me up as she had asked me about contacting Canadian politicians in regards to child exploitation. I told her of my (one) correspondence with a Canadian politician who asked me to contact her after the election, she never responded to me.  What is ironic is that two weeks ago I sent out emails to three different Mississauga Members of Parliament inviting them to participate in the upcoming walkathon. (I thought what do I have to lose?)  Within hours I received two positive responses, possibly this area of chipping at the iceberg is ready now but was not ready five years ago.
Each year I see this ice it reminds me of the wise lady`s words and my role. I think some days I am allowed to chip with my feeble arms, other days after a marathon possibly an Angel does the chipping.
 What I have now besides a very challenging start to my training runs in my ravine as I now have to run over this ice in three separate locations, is a constant reminder of why I am running and the hope and belief that although the ice now looks huge and unbreakable, by the time May is here this ice as I hope for child exploitation one day, will no longer be around.
 My toughest run ever
 During my longest run of this year I remembered a day six years ago. I was training for my first marathon and one day while running I felt a sharp pain in my right calf and had to stop running and walk home. I know the difference between soreness and an injury and this was an injury.
 An ultrasound revealed nothing. I had the elders of my Church pray for me, and yet this pain persisted. I took two weeks off running and tried again. On this day I felt the sharp pain (like a knife in my calf) coming on and I had to stop running again. As I started my slow walk home a lot of negative emotions were overwhelming me. I was upset, afraid, discouraged, disheartened, but the strongest emotion I felt was anger.
 I thought of a horrific story I had heard from a man who is a caregiver for abused girls in Cambodia. He told the story of an eight year old girl who was sold to a pedophile who would make her dance naked on a pool table in order to sell her for a night to the highest bidder.
This story hit me extremely hard as my daughters were eight and six years old at the time.
I started running very slow, every step causing pain, and thought of not only this girl but any other girl caught up in the world of sexual exploitation. I started saying. 
I am not doing this for myself
I am doing this so that young girls do not have to dance naked on pool tables!
 The pain never relented during this run and I repeated this saying over and over again, sometimes shouting sometimes whispering, sometimes through tears. I had to stop running more than once.
 I ended up having to take two months off of running (not the best way to train for your first marathon.)  A lot of prayer helped me through this time and somehow I was able to finish my first marathon, without this my running career would have been over and some of the positive results including The Ratanak 5km Walkathon would not have been part of my life.
 Many people encourage me, many people are supporting me, many people are helping me, many people love me, many people are donating money, many people are volunteering. Every person I know that is doing this work are very selfless individuals, you expect and receive very little in the way of recognition and yet I know that 
We are not doing this for ourselves

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