Sunday, 8 November 2015

Childrens Laughter Keep Running But Please No Hills

As an amateur writer I seem to have high standards for books I choose to read. A book came in the mail that I could not wait to start reading, finishing the book in less than a week I was not disappointed.
Midnight Jesus written by Jamie Blaine was the book. Jamie writes about his experiences as a late night psychotherapist, and how he constantly finds Jesus amongst the least of these. Many parts of the book resonated with me.
Here are three examples.

Jamie writes "There are people of faith who somehow find the place where they are standing on the hilltop, smiling and clean in clothes that match, arms lifted in the sun. I am not one of those Christians. I am mismatched and muddy, and ragged, and if there is a hill I`m falling down it backward with both feet in the air."

When I read this I pictured someone who represents a picture of who I perceive to be "the perfect Christian." I thought of a pastor I know, the most righteous man I have ever known, still married to the same wife, both kids successful and heavily involved in ministry. This pastor confessed his sin from the pulpit, minor stuff I do ever day, and think nothing of. He is approaching 70 still preaching with integrity no scandals, still going strong.
If there is a hill for Christians I want no part of it. I have ran too many hills in training for crazy hills in marathons.
Hill is a four letter word for me. Climbing hills are traps.
Is a shepherd higher up the hill than a King?
When was David more alive, happier, closer to God?

Imagine my surprise when twice in the last month I had examples of others viewing me as the guy on the top of the hill.
Driving to a 5k run that benefitted breast cancer my Mother in law expressed concern about leaving my car in a high school parking lot and taking a shuttle to the race. I told her "I am not worried about something bad happening to me when I am doing some good to help others." Sketchy theology at best with no Biblical backing, but for me I have found this to be true.
She replied "if that was true you would never have anything bad happen to you."
I looked over at her expecting a smile, and saw she was looking straight ahead. Although it is great to have your mother in law believe this of you it shocked me to realize how little she knows of the true me.

At work we are given a yearly review by a superior. Coworkers have charted your year with comments, statistics, etc. If the good outweighs the bad you are given a raise. Vice versa and I guess your wages stays the same or worse.
My last review lasted a long time. At the 10 minute mark I wanted to stop the process and ask if I could make a recording to play back the conversation to my wife for the times when I am less than perfect.
After 30 minutes my manager finished, not one negative comment. I was a bit dizzy and felt like I had just experienced an out of body experience and that someone at work had been masquerading as me for the past year.

In his book Jamie talks about his work in a roller skating rink, he said. "I have never once dreaded going to work at the rink. Never remember having a bad day. Never thought of calling in sick. It`s the lights and the music, the wind in your hair. The smell of hot popcorn and little kids laughing.
Little kids laughing is the voice of God."

When my youngest daughter was in kindergarten she would stay after school and play in the playground with a friend of hers. The sounds of these two little girls laughing and squealing with utter joy without a care in the world lifted my spirit and brings a smile to me many years removed. I think God enjoys these moments most, for this was His purpose, His intention for children.
God does not allow us to feel this sense of contentment forever, for it is a broken world in which we live in and although we are broken ourselves sometimes God wants us to try and help others mend.

One day while watching my daughter play my mind wandered to the lives of other young girls I had learned about. Girls who lived a world away from me. These girls life experience has no joy or laughter. Their squeals came from terror and pain. Torture and misery were part of their everyday existence. My thoughts had taken me to the young girls in Cambodia held as sex slaves.

Tears spilled down my cheek as I thought of the unfairness of life.
These girls and their abusers represent the voice and the will of satan being done on earth.
I so wanted to as much as possible to give the girls in Cambodia a life like my daughters. I wanted satans voice drowned out so these Cambodian girls could hear God`s voice. I realized funding and awareness were the keys to combatting this problem. Taking stock of my life skills I realized I seemed to have no way of making this goal become a reality.

At a crossroad in his life Jamie went to a pastor for advice. Jamie`s pastor told him "God rarely gives specifics. Just start walking and God will show you the way."
My daughter finished kindergarten and moved into grade one. This was a crossroad point for me, for now I had the morning off  before going to work. Running became part of my exercise routine and one day I had the thought why not run a marathon dedicated to Ratanak International and it`s work with oppressed people in Cambodia? A moderate amount of money was raised, a newspaper article appeared so I decided to run another marathon.
For the second marathon a little more money was raised including another newspaper article.

After the second marathon I calculated how much time and money I put into training for my marathons compare to the money raised.
I concluded that if I had put these hours into a minimum wage job and donated the money to Ratanak International I would have made a bigger contribution.
Marathon runners are nothing if not stubborn so despite these figures I ran my third marathon, Boston 2011. Boston is where I thought of having a small 5km walkathon to benefit Ratanak.
Things that are torn down and destroyed, things left for dead cannot be restored overnight.
Jesus used the parable of the mustard seed Matthew 13 31-32 "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of all garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches."
Now as I continue running I see part of God`s perfect plan in my life.

Today I just finished another race The Angus Glen Half Marathon. This was race number twenty three for me.
Here is the shirt and the medal.

I love the shirt for my family sees me this way before every race, Ratanak volunteers see me this way before and at each walkathon.

Here are my running medals.

I seem to have accumulated a lot. They have a lot of sentimental value but besides that they are worthless.
Beginning stages of planning for the fifth Ratanak 5km walkathon have begun. I think of a Mayor, M.P.P, Councillor, professional runner, Blue Jay player I will invite over the winter.
I think of the publicity generated and the money raised.
So far the total is over $95 000.

During my time as a volunteer for Ratanak  I have heard examples of former sex slaves as young girls, becoming University educated, and counsellors themselves. I have heard a story of a former victim, a young woman dancing freely with no shame. I have heard stories of young woman being healed enough to move out of programs to live on their own allowing other to take their place and continue healing.

Yes as Jamie`s pastor told him God rarely gives specifics.
For me my life has been just start running, just keep running and God will show the way has been my life the last eight years. 
My running medals have no earthly value but one day I will meet my heavenly treasures.


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