Running in Place

Do you think our grandparents would have imagined we would someday live in a world where we would need to run in place on a motorized belt to get our exercise?

For me, I actually kind of like the treadmill. My feet pounding out a rhythmic THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! Sweat dripping like warm salty rain to the floor from my face and arms creating pools of exasperation underneath my temporary kingdom of running content.

However, there was a time when running was for a reason. We ran into battle, we ran away from danger, we ran to the arms of a loved one, we ran to win a grand race. Now we often run just for the sake of running.

The reality of treadmill running is that we can spend hours in the artificial light of that artificial environment running in place. In the end we will still be right where we started.

Of course life can be like this too. We create artificial substitutes for things that once meant much to us. Who needs the sweet sound of a friends’ voice when we can just talk via e-mail, text or twitter? Who needs to deal with the problems of their life when we can just go to the self-help section of the book store and spend $12.00 to find all the answers?

And many of us wonder why our lives seem to stay rutted in today and not moving on to a promising tomorrow. It reminds me of Alice’s experience with the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Alice asks the cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way should I walk from here?”
The cat replies, “That depends a good deal on where you want to go.”
Alice responds, “I don’t much care where.”
To which the cat replies, “In that case, it doesn’t matter which way you walk”

Alice would have been a great treadmill person. She could have just stayed right there, ran in place and saved herself a lot of trouble.

What about you? Are you living the treadmill life? Do you leave work every day and feel as if you have done nothing but run in place? Are you moving forward in your faith relationship? What about your family?

The start of a new year and indeed a new decade is as good of an opportunity as any to jump off, run out, and get moving in a new direction. This indeed is my hope and my prayer for all of us in 2010.

Press on!