Here goes nothing.

Gulp. Well I’m finally taking the plunge into the ocean of blogging. I call it a plunge because it’s kind of a big step. Those who know me know that I’m generally not the type to put myself out there. In fact I’m starting out blogging “undercover” until I’m more comfortable with the idea of people reading what I write. So if you happen to stumble onto this blog before I’ve let the word out, do me a favor and don’t let me know.

I’m also a bit skeptical that I’ve got anything worth writing for anyone and everyone’s eyes, but those who know me also know that there are few things I do just for fun or for no reason. This is no different. There’s a reason I’m taking the blogging plunge.

It’s a marvelously crisp and sunny quasi-fall day here in Dallas. To me it’s only a quasi-fall day because whenever October finds me in any place other than my home-state of Pennsylvania, I miss the autumnal explosion of color that is especially brilliant there. But the degrees have dipped into the 60s and I can actually enjoy the mid-day sun on my face. I decided to profite (please pardon the franglais that is bound to creep its way into my writing, at least I hope so) from the day and go for a run after church.

I didn’t take the photo, but this is where today’s run took place

Going for a run. Nothing momentous about that, you may think. And you’re mostly right. By my estimation, my years as an athlete began at age 8 and I’ve gone on many a run since then. But it has now been 4 years since the end of my competitive athlete days, so I no longer work out at the same intensity or with the same motivation. As an athlete I ran to get my body in the best physical shape possible so that I wouldn’t disappoint my coaches, let down my team, or be less fit than my opponents. When that era ended and I was adjusting to life after competitive sport, I ran to maintain the weight and size that I was accustomed to having as a year-round athlete. Those motivations have faded. I no longer hear anyone in my head urging me to run faster. I feel little inspiration to accomplish great personal athletic feats; I figure my body has already done a considerable amount on the playing field. I don’t weigh myself like I once did and have mostly resigned myself to a body that will inevitably be less lean and strong than when I was rigorously training. I figure I reached my prime and am now beyond it. That’s not to say that I’ve embraced an unhealthy lifestyle. But my standards are not what they once were.

I’ve discovered over the past year that now when I run, it’s for more psychological than physical reasons. I commonly have small epiphanies during my runs. That’s often when I “do business” with God, with myself, and with people I know (or at least the versions of them that I imagine). And this past year has certainly been one where I’ve needed an epiphany or two, and where I’ve had lots of business to do. A little over a year ago I sent off my application to Mission to the World to seek their approval as a “long-term missionary.” The year that followed has been packed with assessment, introspection, and orientation. That’s not to mention the new job title as “itinerating missionary,” a solo move to a state I’d only seen in books and movies, and the reprise of my studies, this time around in applied linguistics and language development.

Running to get a different perspective (an aerial view of the dam where I ran)

Today’s run brought me a couple epiphanies and conversations; they will likely surface in subsequent posts. And during my run I decided that it was time to start blogging. There’s too much going on in my head these days not to have an outlet. There are also too many people in my growing team of supporters and cheer-ers not to share with them some of my thoughts and hopefully get some interaction. Besides, creating a blog is kind of the missionary thing to do these days (which may be part of the reason I’ve been putting it off).  There will come a time, Lord willing, when I’ll find myself in another land where face-to-face chats, phone calls, even emails will be more difficult to count on. For the record, though, blogging isn’t, nor will it ever be, anything but a cheap substitute for human interaction.

The sermon I heard this morning was about our human tendency to exchange the glory of God for created things. It was a great sermon. I can say that because tears were streaming down my face by the time it ended. As I recovered from my run on the damn of Joe Pool Lake, with the sunlight splashing off the lake ripples, a crisp breeze tussling the tall grass, and the Spirit’s voice fresh in me from our conversation, it occurred to me – what about in moments like these, when the glory of the uncreated seems to mingle with the glory of the created, leaving me breathless and wanting at once to cry and laugh out loud?

Thus begin this sojourner’s wonderings, wanderings, ponderings…

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