This past week I rediscovered something crucial to any life well-lived, exercise. Before priestly ordination, seminary life provided a mostly structured scheduled environment in which it was fairly easy to work in running to my weekly routine. During my time in seminary I ran 3 half-marathons and many other 5Ks, 10Ks, and 15Ks. Since priestly ordination, however, my life has been far from routine; with a bit of vacation, starting at St. Stephens Indian Mission, World Youth Day trip to Lithuania and Poland, and trying to get settled back here, I haven’t made the effort to get out and run…that is, until last week. What transpired was a rediscovery of the joy of running. I don’t mean that in a superficial sort of way, in truth, it hurt; my body was not ready for me to pick up running again and definitely let me know it wasn’t appreciative of the 3 miles I tried to cover. The joy consisted in the experience of getting out and away from everything for 30 minutes. It gave me an experience to be outside, with the beauty of God’s creation all around me, creating a sense of awe and wonder at the created universe. I also love to run with music so running allows me to jam out to my music and enjoy without worrying about anything back home. It’s a great stress-reliever, a healthy habit, and a spiritually uplifting experience (for our spiritual life and our physical life are intertwined: when our bodies are in a healthy place it aids our spiritual life and vice versa). Needless to say, I hope to keep up the running routine and check out some of the local races here in the area…I’ve noticed a Turkey Trot 5K coming up in November in Riverton.
Additionally this past Saturday, St. Stephens kicked off the school year by providing a youth trip to Thermopolis to go swimming at the Hot Springs. I loaded up with 7 youth and 4 adults and trekked through the Wind River Canyon up to Thermopolis. There we went to Star Plunge where we swam in the hot mineral pool waters. This brought back memories for me since I hadn’t been to that place since I was a kid with my family vacationing in the area. As I went off the high-dive a few times and went cruising down the slide, nostalgia kicked in. I played sharks and minnows with the youth and we all had a great time. The day ended with pizza, of course.
God’s grace is all around us if we only have the eyes of faith to see it. He can work through the seemingly mundane things in our life, like running or swimming with the youth! He is there, even when we can’t see it. So get out there and look for His grace, think of it as a treasure hunt, for once you start to seek Him, you will always find Him waiting for you, and often His grace will surprise you in ways you can’t even fathom!