Why I Am Blogging

There is hope! (sunrise run on Ben Vane, West Loch Lomond, Scotland. 9 Dec 2017)

Shortly will be the first anniversary of this blog. It seems appropriate to share how it’s gone as well as my aspirations and thinking behind writing about life, faith and running. 

I started with not much of a plan, just a sense of wanting to say something. Each blog has been different and unpredictable with varying lengths of time between each blog. The creative process involved has been surprisingly enjoyable. Thank you to those who have taken time to read and given encouragement. In our media saturated age I am well aware there is competition for your attention. Choosing the broad themes of life, faith and running has suited me. It has given freedom to write about most things. Some say a blog should be focussed. My decision has been to incorporate the broad (life and faith) as well as the specific (running). To keep the blog within a narrow framework doesn’t appeal to me. Also not sure I could sustain writing about similar things for long. 

So a ‘life’ theme is sufficiently wide to cover most things! You can’t get much more general than ‘life’, a great catch all that gives me freedom! Sharing parts of my history has been helpful personally. Helpful in the sense of becoming more aware that all of my life experience needs embracing. I am being challenged to own my history. As Henri Nouwen says…

“many of us have lost our sensitivity for our own history and experience our life as a capricious series of events over which we have no control“

Reaching Out, page 68.

To the extent I share my hope is to be honest. The bad as well as the good. Sorrows as well as  joys. Living with regrets as well as fulfilled ambitions. My experience and perspectives belong to me. The hope in sharing is that some of that may resonate with your own life. 

Nouwen again…

what is most universal is most personal and indeed nothing human is strange to us

Reaching Out

When it comes to writing about my faith as a Christian it is personal but also I hope relatable. The Bible describes the coming of Jesus as ‘good news’ (‘gospel’). The call to follow Jesus is part of life itself, precious but not always easy to share and express. Nevertheless it would be dishonest of me to separate life and faith. It would also not be right to paint a picture that trust in Jesus leads to the removal of doubts, fears or anxieties. Dark days and sometimes confusion is part and parcel of being human, whether Christian or not. There is also brokenness and a gap between what I say I believe and what I actually believe (i.e. do). What light there is I only reliably find in the Bible as God’s Word to mankind.

The great paradox is that despite struggles there is also great joy and encouragement. I am on a journey with a promising destination. Speaking of journeys and destinations leads me to running.

To write about running could mean a non-runner will not readily relate or share the same enthusiasm. However as mentioned elsewhere (see ‘about’) I view running, particularly endurance running, can serve as a helpful metaphor in travelling life’s path. A path we are all on.

Gingerbread muffins – currently don’t bake but greatly appreciate the results. 

I have never done hot air ballooning but might be interested in giving it a go. Thus far I have exhibited virtually no carpentry skills but admire those who can make beautiful things out of wood. Not sure if assembling Ikea flat pack furniture counts! Nor do I share my wife’s ability and enthusiasm for creating colours and abstract art. My life though is enriched when I am enabled to enter into ‘their’ world as they communicate their passion and demonstrate their abilities or creations. A window of opportunity may be opened to me or my imagination is sparked. That is my justification for occasionally rambling on about long distance trail and mountain running! Pushing yourself to discover your limits is a discipline that demands both the physical and the spiritual.

Thank you for reading and trust you will continue to join me in the future.

A Big Shout Out for Metaphors

I am aware some reading this are English teachers so will tread carefully. Nevertheless claiming no expertise in English does not mean I can’t have the occasional amateurish excitement about metaphors! Also a nice thing about having your own blog is you get to choose what you want to write.  

For some English is a second, third or even fourth language* and it may be that what I say may not make much sense. However recently I was saying goodbye to a friend returning to his homeland in Asia. English is not his mother tongue but his parting comment to me was that we will meet again ‘in two shakes of a lamb’s tail’. I don’t recall using or indeed knowing of that turn of phrase but having relatives who have sheep I knew what he meant. Such is the power of metaphors that you can feel what they mean.

“…how we think about our selves and our relationship to the world is already revealed in the metaphors we unconsciously choose to talk about it”.  

The Master and his Emissary, Iain McGilchrist. 

McGilchrist also says studies on the history and origin of words show metaphors have their roots in the body (particularly the hand) and how we experience the world through it. Seems to me to make sense. We experience the world through our body though I often think it’s all in my head. Even a word such as ‘attend’ which I never thought of as metaphor. McGilchrist again… 

“The hand is the vehicle of touch, as well as grasp, and therefore the origin of the metaphor of ‘tact’. In fact to attend means, precisely, to reach out a hand towards: we reach out – ‘ad-tend’ – in order to give, as well as to take”.

The heart of what I am saying is this. If you want a refreshing dose of reality and I still have your attention, grasp what I am trying to put forward and step up to the plate. Rein in dark moods, lighten up, harness your energies and rustle up some metaphors. On the other hand you might scoff at my ideas or observe it’s not your cup of tea.

On the face of it I should probably shut up and you take all this with a pinch of salt. 

* I suspect those who know other languages will have a richer body of metaphors.