Sunday, August 24, 2014

1400 Miles from Home--and a Little

Today, I came back after my injury, ran 18 miles on the NCR trail at a 7:58 pace, and am now up to 1402 miles for the year.  Pretty cool to be up to that many miles already.  I am still on US 54 taking the long road through Kansas toward my ultimate destination.  The next time I'll be on a road other than US 54 I will be in Oklahoma on my virtual pilgrimage.  

Today's Gospel reading at church was one in which Jesus asks the disciples "who do you say that I am?"  The priest put this in a really interesting context.  He pointed out that if we don't try to give it some context then it is just an interesting historical reading and not tied to our lives today--which it should be.  Instead, he encouraged us to wonder why Jesus would ask this question. Was he insecure?  Was he curious?  Did he want to see what he had accomplished so far in terms of their understanding?  

No simple answers.  But Peter gave him an answer that led Jesus to announce that Peter would hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven. 

Notably, Fr Ray did point out a series of things that I found very interesting.  Knowing how well we are known by those around us is a natural thing to want to explore.  Partners (husbands and wives or any other variety) would want to know about each other.  Parents and children.  Friends.  Coworkers.  Many people would want to know what someone else thinks of them.

And the interesting thing is that the better you know the other person, the better you usually know yourself.  Everything I know about someone else can get turned into a question about myself.  Do I agree with this  if I don't, where do I stand?  Why?  What difference does it make?

And the most important way to learn--spend time.  I spend time with my running friends on the pavements or on the trails.  I spend time with Sherry in parenting, when we go out together, when we spend time just talking as couples do.  I learn about my children through spending time with them.  In the car.  In the kitchen.  Doing chores.  I learn about my faith by spending time.  Over the years I have read, studied, participated in student organizations, gone to mass, played in a worship band at mass, been a Eucharistic minister, taught Sunday school, and now serve on parish council.  All ways to learn about God.

But there are so many ways to learn about God.  When Father Ray asked if I'd seen or heard God this week, I could have said yes.  God is clearly present on the NCR trail--the natural beauty, peace, and serenity.  God is present in my son helping me to get bandaged after my fall.  God is present in my son getting ready to move into a dorm for his freshman year tomorrow.  God is present in so many ways in my life.  A bigger plan.  A bigger theme.  A call to follow and serve.

And while I was out on the trail today, I saw a number of people.  My friend Sandy was running north as I was running south and turned long enough just to say hello.  There were many other runners. Some made it as far north as I did from the same start.  Others I saw only as I was running south at quite a pace.  

And the most interesting thing I saw and a good opening line:

The morning's run had many interesting facets--the fact that the sun was not over the horizon as he started his first run since the injury and yet he went full speed ahead, the run all the way to the nine mile marker which he so rarely reaches for fear of boredom on a nine mile out and back run, and the two gentleman walking each with a pair of waders slung over his shoulder but with just one fishing pole between them as they prepared to enjoy a day fishing on the river.    


  1. I enjoy your perspective on this (as usual!) - never really thought about it that way. And great run!!!!!

  2. Thanks. Fr Ray always challenges parishioners. And I always like to ponder. I truly believe that time spent with anyone or anything driver familiarity and drives self-discovery.