Trail Running as Metaphor

Trail Running as Metaphor

I enjoy running. In particular, I enjoy trail running and the sense of flow that comes with the twists and turns. Ask any trail runner, when you are in the flow you feel like you can run forever! However, there is an inevitability to trail running. The flow never lasts, and you know at some point the euphoria will be interrupted with the challenge of a grueling climb, a steep descent or an outcropping of rock. Flow and fortitude. Euphoria and grit.

Of course as I speak about trail running, there is the obvious comparison to its better-known cousin, road running. With road running it is straight ahead, no twists and turns and you can always see ahead to know where you are going. While I have obviously biased my description of these two forms of running (get off the road!), if I had the choice, it is road running which would act as the metaphor for my life in ministry.

I am currently overseeing a renovation project at Next Door, our ministry centre in Aldershot, and how I would love for this project to be like a nice 10k road race. A 10k is always a good challenge, but, it’s straightforward and the good ones are flat and fast, as the race promoters like to boast! Most important, it is shy on tripping hazards or other surprises meant to slow you down.

However, since getting into renovations in early January, the project has been more like a trail run. The flow of November and December, when we secured our grants and signed our lease, has been met with a couple of setbacks. I know it will be fine, but unlike trail running, I don’t love these interruptions! My confidence? Well, it comes from having Lord show up with refreshing news always when needed. Offers of professional help. Generous donations towards the project. Our city councilor nominating us for a grant that immediately turned into another cheque. All good news, all timely.

In June my kids and I will be volunteering at a trail race between Rattlesnake Point and Crawford Lake. If you know the area, the run involves a tough descent and return through Nassagaweya Canyon. Our aid station is situated as runners come out of the canyon. This year, as we offer them drink and encouragement, I’ll be thinking about this ministry experience; God showing up when needed, encouraging me to the finish line. And that experience, I wouldn’t trade this for a road race after all.

Stay tuned as the project develops. We’d love to have you come down to see our new Next Door Kitchen. If you would like to be a part of the construction and renovations please let me know. I can be reached at paul.millar@forestviewchurch.ca

About the Author:

Paul lives in Burlington with his wife Elizabeth and their five children, Alexandria, Gabriel, Hazel, Sophia and Simon. His current interests are native gardening, mountain biking, trail running, basketball and visiting indie coffee shops in the Hammer. If he is doing any of the above with his family all the better!

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