9.12.2006

Running and Praying with a Friend

I have a friend who I run with about two or three times a week. I've
known her for about fifteen years, and we've been running together for
almost that long. When I first met her in 1991, she was in pretty bad
shape, financially and psychologically. Since I've known her, she's
improved considerably on both fronts, which has been great to see.
Although she still has her wounds that she's working through.

We don't often talk when we run, but by just observing her I get to
know her better. I celebrate her strengths and lament her weaknesses.
Sometimes I pray silently for her, her companionship spurring me to
lift her up to God when I often forget to do the same at other times.
I always look forward to running with her, the best part of which in
just being together. I hope she'll continue to heal, and that we'll
continue to run so I can see that healing over time.

My "friend," if you haven't figured it out already, is Philadelphia.
Oh sure, I like running in less urban areas. But there's something
about a good urban run that helps you get to know the city as if it
were a friend.

In Philadelphia's case, here is a friend that has improved
considerably in the last fifteen years. And running through town, I
can see some of the evidence: new construction, the exciting buzz of
activity, a diversity of people engaged in a diversity of pursuits.
And I can also see where there is still pain: run-down blocks and loud
confrontations and the homeless.

So the next time you're running (or walking or biking or driving)
through Philadelphia, won't you take a moment to observe her, too; and
won't you say a prayer for my friend?

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