Friday, June 8, 2007


Five days a week I (used to) work out in a gym. The gym is noisy, and according to my wife, who seems to have a superior sense of smell, it smells funny. On Saturdays I like to get away from the noise and the smell, and go run in the park. For some reason this particular day turned out to be a special day of expriencing God's presence.

On my way to the park I passed by a pond. Out of the corner of my eye I saw two young Canadian geese floating on the pond together. Usually seeing a pair of geese is not a big deal in this part of the world, but everything was so perfect. The way they were situated on the pond, the light, and the color; a painter couldn't have painted it any better.

After I parked and got out of the car, the overpowering silence hit me. Our house backs onto a busy road and the traffic noise is almost constant. The silence in the park was in sharp contrast to what we hear all day. The silence felt good. I tried to breathe it in, and I was so thankful to be outside on a sunny, quiet day.

I stretched a little and began to walk down the trail. The foliage was now thicker than it was the last time I was in the park. The sun's beams cascaded through the trees. What was going on? I've probably walked, or jogged in this park a hundred times and yet it all seemed so fresh, so enjoyable, like seeing snow covered mountains for the first time. The geese on the pond, the peaceful silence, the green foliage and the sun beams streaming through the trees; it was like every moment was a new experience even though I had seen it all before.

Normally, I'm in my own little world when I go jogging. On this day, everything seemed amplified for some reason. Either I was more present, or God was, or a combination of both!

As I continued jogging I noticed a quiet symphony going on. First it was the peaceful sound of the creek. Then I noticed the birds singing and the squirrels chirping as I jogged by. I thought, "God has a continuous concert of praise going on." Sometimes the sounds in the woods can be annoying, or frightening. The sounds I heard as I jogged along on this day were uplifting and gave me a further sense of peace and invited me to join creation’s choir in worship.

As I ran beside the river there were some horses and a young foal with its mother. Man, this was too much. I whispered a prayer of thanks and kept on running. Ten minutes later I was back at the car having just had an experience with God.

"He is like a tree planted by streams of water,…" Ps. 1:3

learning to pray: Next time you go for a walk or jog, try to be present to your surroundings. Presence can be accomplished in several ways using your senses. Here are a few suggestions (do each separately, in other words, only concentrate on one at a time):
- First and foremost, try to be present to your surroundings and not in your head
- Smell the air. If it smells bad – stop! If it smells good, without further judgment, or thinking let the air move through your nose and in and out of your lungs.
- Feel your breath going in and out of your lungs
- Feel the ground beneath your feet
- Look deeply at the plants. Try and absorb and be grateful for their beauty
- Look at the way the sun streams through the trees and the different shades of light it creates

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