I have not written my blog for the longest time. I think it is also a discipline thing. Kind of like running. You must not think about it too much. Just get out there and do it. If you start thinking about it then all kinds of reasons present themselves for why it is not the best thing to do. So it is for me and writing this blog. So let me forge ahead despite the little voice that says I really do not have anything to say.
Running for me has been a sort of steady 50k a week routine which is probably OK given the temperature ranges we are enduring this year. (around 42 degrees Celsius on a cool day and in the mornings when I run around 28 degrees) I ran a 10K and a couple of half marathon races. Then yesterday I wanted to get away and cycled to Kasauli and back…
I did not think that through. My thoughts were like this: get away early in the morning and then I would have reached the cooler parts up in the hills by the time it is hot. I would enjoy the quiet solitude and then zip back down the mountain. It is (only) about 70k to get there and coming down would be hardly any effort. I did not think it through.
Many others had the idea to escape the heat in more sensible ways like driving in air conditioned cars. The road was busy. It was dusty. I got something in my eye just as I started going up which kept on irritating it until I could hardly keep it open. It was important on the busy road to keep both eyes wide open. Still, up was OK. As I started coming down an oven-like headwind was blowing. My eyes were watering so much that I could hardly see. The stand of the bicycle kept on going into the spokes so after every bumpy patch I had to pull over and move it away from the wheel. I stopped at a repair shop to tighten it which helped. I stopped at a chemist to get some eye-drops which did not help. Still it was OK until I got back to the plains.
This is when I realized that, man… I did not think this through. It was about 30k with the 42 degree sun grilling from the top and the tar road frying from the bottom. The glare, the dust the traffic, the thirst and I found that heatstroke was not such a farfetched idea after all. I stopped around 13 times to buy water and threw half of it on my head and down my back. Every time I stopped I felt a bit dizzier. Three kilometers from home my daughter called to ask me to book an Uber for them so I stopped right there.
It was a happy spot with some palm trees lining the road and green grass. Sitting there I reflected on what it was that made me do it. Maybe feeling oppressed by the day-in-and-day-out routine with no wriggling room out of all the responsibility. Maybe my weird sense of adventure that needs an outlet. Maybe my 45 years and insecurity that wants to see if I am still strong enough. And yeah, that was it. All of these, but definitely the last one, the need to be strong.
It was a few days before this that I read this article: https://spiritualrunning.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/weakness-and-god/
In a certain sense my trying to be so strong is an act of rebellion against God; if this sense of strength is in my own ability. This feeling of strength can, in one of its worse manifestations, become a critical spirit against everyone and everything that does not measure up to my standards. Seeing the splinter in someone’s eye while I have a plank in my own. And no matter how I tried I could not get that pain in my eye to go away. It was only a night’s sleep that did that for me. Resting. Yes, resting in God, finding significance in him, finding God’s strength in our weakness is where peace is and where God’s glory will be seen.
I did the last 3k, had a cold shower, some sports drink and then spent the rest of the afternoon unconscious on my bed. Funny, I do feel refreshed now. But it is only God’s grace and power that will enable me to shake off the critical spirit that is still making me impatient and not the most gracious person.
So there you go, a jumbled blog post if there ever was one.