Embraced by a World Alive With Wonder

[Editorial Note: John has written about running a few times here, and is also chronicling his preparations for the LA Marathon on his blog. I was particularly struck by his thoughts in this post as the way the he describes the effect of running is very similar to the attentiveness to God and our world that we seek through a number of different spiritual disciplines. Enjoy, and follow John's progress at his blog if you'd like. –Daniel Harris]

Some of the things I like about our runs are those unexpected serendipities. Those ubiquitous moments that surprise us; those miraculous moments that are always all around us. We are embraced by a world alive with wonder, one bursting with a sweet freshness, one burgeoning with sights and smells that are just waiting to fill our senses, if only we would take the time to take them in, if only we could slow down long enough to notice. It’s so easy to miss them. We simply rush past. In the normal hustle and bustle of our day to day activities we are just too busy, too distracted; we miss all the little surprises that wait for us each and every moment of each and every day. That’s what I like about running. It slows me down. I can’t help but become a part of my environment. My senses are heightened. My mind becomes in tune with my surroundings. There is a sort of hyper-sensitivity that running brings about. And the world seems different…sweeter, fresher, and more alive.

One of the things I like about our runs are the people we meet along the way. I love it when we are running down the sidewalk and we come upon an elderly couple out for their evening stroll or their morning walk. More times than not they are holding hands, sometimes they are arm in arm, obviously still very much in love with each other. It makes me thankful for Deanna, for our shared life together. It reminds me how much a part of me she is, how intimately and beautifully our lives have become woven into one. It reminds me just how precious life with her truly is. I love holding her hand as we walk. It still fills me with the same tingly child-like feeling of falling in love…for the first time all over again. I look forward to all of the days and years that are still to come. I look forward to growing old together, to walking hand and hand…still very much in love.

Some other things I like about running are when the orange blossoms are in bloom. I love running past the orange trees with their citrusy fresh fragrance filling the air with such sweetness you can almost taste it. I love running under the Magnolia trees when they are bursting with their soapy sweet smelling blooms. I love to watch the lizards as they scamper away as we run up on them; or sometimes the really bold ones will raise up on their front legs and look at us as we approach, almost defiantly. Sometimes when we are running a humming bird will hover right there above our heads, looking at us, checking us out. We must be a strange sight. I love to watch the birds when they decided to cool off and splash around in a puddle, or more often in some homeowner’s fountain. Their playfulness reminds me not to take myself too seriously. There is something rewarding, renewing, and essential about play. And I must never forget that.

Read the rest on John's blog.