Running Song #8

Because American Football announced the upcoming release of a new album after 17 years…  

This is for the emo kids.  Good for mile 3 or 4 of a 8 mile run.  Early morning or fall evening.  Urban neighborhood/urban green way.  Keep falling forward. Keep it steady. 

American Football – Never Meant

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Running Song #7

Beck – Wow

Warm up / Mile 1. Your run will be like WOW. Giddy up. 

Lyric Video

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When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

I don’t know a lot about the Whitman poem When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer. What was the setting of the poem?  What was the intent?  I’ll have to research it. 

But when I read it this morning, I felt as if Whitman was reminding me of something I often forget: life is to be experienced. 

It’s great to listen to lectures for logical reasoning. It’s good to dissect myth from fact and question theories.  But scientific observations should not outshine the breathtaking awe of experience. You can talk about the grandeur of the night sky, and perhaps appreciate it, but, without tilting your head up on a clear night and watching hundreds of candles dancing in a black ocean, you’ll never form a relationship. 

Relationship, good or bad, in unavoidable with experience.  As you enter the world and feel a cool wind on your face and hear the crunch the rocks under your feet, you form a relationship with your surrounding. Gentle or harsh. Simple or complex. It’s the start of community.  Before a word is spoken. 

I think it’s the longing for relationship that makes Whitman tired and sick.  As the lecturer tells of the vastness of space, Whitman perhaps feels the ache of an absent friendship.  

It’s the ache of life: to belong to something grand and the comfort of solidarity. The opportunity to look to the sky and see a little star that will listen and twinkle a message: life is worth the price of each minute when we see each other. 

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Filed under Poetry, Spiritual, Whitman

Sunday School Volunteering: New Picture of Jesus

I volunteer in my church’s 2 and 3 year old Sunday School class. It mostly involves playing with toy cars and trains, baking delicious plastic foods, coloring, serving Gold Fish crackers, and reminding the kids to use the potty.  Somewhere between the coloring and Gold Fish, my fellow volunteers and I deliver a Bible lesson.  The lessons are short and pithy, typically deliveried with the aid of a hedgehog puppet, and always address three things: God is bigger than fear, God hears prayer, and God loves us. 

It’s a bit of a challenge to engage the attention of a 2 and 3 year old child with a simple Bible lesson. Despite the fact that I have two daughters, and multiple nieces and nephews, it requires focused creative energy for me to capture their attentions for more than a few minutes (if that).  It would be so much easier to skip the Bible lessons in favor of Play-Doh. 

I find asking questions during each lesson helps to minimize distractions.  Giving a 2 and 3 year old the platform of self-expression works wonders. It’s 50/50 their answers will actually be related to the Bible lesson.  Even still, their enthusiastic responses warm to the soul. 

One of the strongest witnesses to the Gospel, true evangelism, is a child looking you in the eye and saying “Jesus loves me” — purely innocent faith and trust. The faith and trust I often forget. 

What’s interesting about teaching Bible lessons to 2 and 3 year olds is that each lesson, whether it’s Nehemiah’s wall or Ruth’s devotion to Naomi or whatever, arrives at Jesus.  It’s a conclusion I desperately want in my life. No matter the victory or the struggle, I want to find myself in Jesus and him in me. 

I’ve been a volunteering with the 2 and 3 year olds for a few years now.  When I signed up, I thought I’d be serving them and their parents. Turns out they are serving me. They are allowing me to see Jesus in a new way.  A way I once saw him.  A way I don’t want to forget. 

Pure faith and trust.  He’s bigger than my fears. He hears my prayers. He loves me. 

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Chance the Rapper

Hip-hop, gospel, R&B, and pop…  So into this record. Yeah I’m late. But I am old too.

Chance makes me want to be a White Sox fan. He’s taken over my running playlist.

Coloring Book – Chance the Rapper

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Lord Keep Me Broken

Exhale autumn: spring’s glorious gasp

Rainbow summer: refracting winter

Rubbish wasteland: pauper poetry

Beauty longing: Lord keep me broken

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Filed under Life, Poetry

To Run Humbly

@RunningQuotes: Running humbles me, yet reminds me that I am strong.

I love this tweet from Real Runners. You must follow them if you are a running nerd.

It is so true that running, long distance running, requires humility. It is a lifestyle that requires you to deal with fatigue, emotions, time management, diet, and a number of other variables. Some days are amazing and other days leave you licking your wounds.

Running is a great life metaphor. Perhaps that is the reason so many are addicted to it.

Just as a runner moves down a path, constantly adjusting and flowing with his surrounding, existing in an environment he can’t control, human reality is adjusting to chaos.

In my reality of chaos, I run for serenity.

The thing about humility that helps increase serenity is the balance. It brings awareness that successes and failures are momentary and often circumstantial. A great run one day does not guarantee the status of tomorrow’s. The reverse is also true.

Running teaches you to experience the good, the bad, and the ugly. And then it asks you if you’ll continue. When the answer is yes, the magic of growth appears. And eventually grace enters the picture.

What was good is covered with joy. What was bad is covered with peace. What was ugly becomes beautiful.

It reminds you that you are strong enough.

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Filed under Emotions, Grace, Life, Running