Saturday, September 20, 2003


They say jogging is good for you. My grandfather runs five miles a day, of course, now we don't know where the heck he is.

I was reminded of that old joke today as I read about this marathon monk.

He ran for a thousand days on what is believed to be the path to enlightenment.

As I read this story, I was struck by two things.
First, this monk ran in handmade sandals. You would have thought Nike would have intervened, if for no other reason than to stop anyone from realizing they could make running shoes on their own.
Second, when he completed his trip on the path to enlightenment, he was back home.

I was at the church this morning, trying to cram in a little yard work before it started raining. Chris showed up around the same time accompanied by another worker who has been helping Chris install a roof on our new building.

Chris has been through a lot. He's beaten back addictions to drugs and seems to have controlled his cravings for alcohol. He's still wrestling some of the common demons of youth, impatience and anger. He is struggling to hold his young family together, but so far he's succeeding. It's been tough and certainly the last chapter of that story is far from written.

But Chris is trying. He's attended AA meetings. He's sought out spiritual counsel. He's gone to a marriage counselor, and he's seen someone to help him deal with his rage.

Chris has a lot of people bending his ear. I know a lot of what he hears he doesn't like, because sometimes I've been the one telling him, but he still listens.

The other worker with Chris this morning is an older guy. I don't know his name. I actually met him yesterday when he came trudging through the church with his boots caked in mud....moments after I had vacuumed. We exchanged pleasantries, and some tips on how to properly wipe your feet. He's an outgoing fellow but he's obviously lived a hard life. I get the impression he has no family, is unable to drive, and has surrendered to many impulses.

The life he lives is itinerant ...and empty.

It was just after seven this morning when he came over to ask to use my phone. I was dragging the lawnmower out of the storage shed and had my back to him, but I knew he was nearby... the pungent odor of alcohol preceded him. During the course of the morning we spoke several times. He seemed to look for opportunities to stop working and talk. It didn't seem to bother him that both our jobs weren't getting done. He wasn't upset when Chris determined some of the metal roofing materials were the wrong size and that part of their project would have to be delayed. The threat of rain also seemed of no consequence.

I pray Chris sees this coworker clearly.

If he does, perhaps that will make it easier for Chris to travel the long hard road ahead and also return home enlightened.

Proverbs 15:31
He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.