For my friends who don't believe in something higher than us, this is an entry you may not appreciate.
For my friends who think that things just happen and that there when things come together they are simply a coincidence, this is an entry you may not appreciate.
But for my friends who believe that connecting with something that is higher (I think of God, others may have alternative concepts) can help to make life better, this is an entry for you.
All my writing and pondering recently is part of what I call, "Running, Reflecting, and Writing". Not quite 3 R's (since writing begins with W), but the alliteration works. In the process of running, reflecting, and writing, I have not been "praying" per se, but to quote an old friend, it is like living the prayer. Two types of prayer are thanksgiving and intercession, and I consider my search for meaning to be part thanksgiving and part intercession--thanks for showing me the way so far, and God please help me to continue to do what I am supposed to be doing.
So, today, after spending weeks pondering and trying to connect my running, my spirituality, and a bigger picture, I feel like God answered a few prayers.
First, today was the first long run since I twisted my ankle that my ankle felt fine. My ankle is still not ready to make quick turns in different directions as I would need to running down a basketball court, but for straight running, the ankle is better and almost all my muscles are now feeling good. A person could say, "It is just the right time." I think that it is part of a prayer being answered for wellness.
Second, today I was accompanied by another runner on my 8 mile run. For miles 2-8 we ran an average 8:10. It was excellent to have the company of another runner at that speed. We conversed as we ran. I found out that she has run a faster personal best half marathon than I have and that sooner or later I may be working to keep up with her. I still love running with the other runners I've been running with for weeks, but I am very happy to have a new running partner for the next several weeks and hopefully then into the marathon training season over the summer. Another prayer answered. I am still giving (and not just receiving), as our coach commented that he was glad to find someone who could keep up with her and I could share with her what I know about marathon running, as, so far, she has not run a marathon.
Third, I attended a former advisee's wedding today. He and his wife are both of Nigerian descent. The wedding was at a Redeemed Christian Church of God. It was a wonderful celebration of the love of my student and his wife for each other, and it was also a wonderful celebration of people wanting to be at a church and people wanting to feel the power of God. Being at a celebration where everyone seemed like they wanted to be there, wanted to feel the power of God, and wanted to be closer to God was a wonderful experience. The music (a mixture of modern--including a six string bass, a saxophone, a drum set, an African drum, and a keyboard--and traditional hymns) was wonderful and showed a way in which a non-Catholic congregation related to God. It was a wonderful example of the many ways that different people relate to the higher power that I believe in. Another prayer answered--reaffirmation of a visible relationship with God.
I hope that my relationship with God can continue to grow in meaningful ways--through prayer, through action, through family, and through running.