praying, encouraging and writing as a service to God

Being Real Chapter 1

Posted on August 7, 2019

Let’s start with the basics.  Either there is a God or there isn’t. “In the beginning God created…” (Gen 1:1)  That is a big statement. “God created the heavens and earth – all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness.” That’s Gen 1:1 in The Message translation. Now I know that it is modern to believe that there is no God responsible for creation. Most scientists would have us believe that sometime in the ancient past there was an accidental ‘big bang’ that ultimately resulted in an elemental life form. Then, somehow a series of random environmental circumstances caused that piece of ‘life’ in the primordial ooze to start evolving into more complex life forms until, wow, a human!  So, in that belief system I am not a creation of an almighty powerful God but simply fortunate that all of my amphibious, reptilian, avian, simian ancestors were in the right place at the right time to somehow morph into a higher life form, eventually leading to a human being standing up on two legs and thinking for himself.  I’m sorry but that version just requires too much faith. Rather, I choose to exercise a lesser amount of faith and just take the Bible at its word. God decided He wanted an earth so he made one. He thought about how he wanted to populate it and ended up making elephants, lions, dogs, monkeys and even bacteria and insects.  When that wasn’t enough He decided that there needed to be someone to look out for all these creatures so He made Adam and Eve and caused them to have the ability to reproduce themselves.   He literally took a handful of dirt from the ground and formed it with His hands and breathed life into the first man, Adam.  Then, after deciding that Adam couldn’t make it on his own (sorry men), He took a rib from Adam and formed a woman named Eve.  Now there were living souls on Earth, in the garden. Hence, in 1946 here comes me, an ancestor of many generations of the created Adam & Eve. Consider carefully, which version of how you got here is easier to believe?

So who created God? Where did He come from?  This is a question that is often posed by non-believers.  I have a well thought out answer that should be adequate for our purposes – I don’t know!  Uh-oh, does that mean that the whole belief in creation falls apart?  Not at all, somewhere along the line we have to exercise faith in something.  In the big-bang/evolutionary model, can they tell us where those first particles came from that miraculously banged up against each other and created the universe? Can they tell us how somehow an inert piece of ‘stuff’ suddenly took on life? No!  If God has to have a provable beginning, then why don’t those swirling masses of gas and particles have to have a provable beginning?  I just find it a lot easier to believe as the Bible says in Revelations 1:8, “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come…” (New Living Translation)  I don’t have to understand where God came from, it is enough for me to see how everything around me points to the fact that it must be true, God just is and He made all of this!

Mr. Toads again?

Posted on June 18, 2019

My recent experience at Hart Park, where I kissed the trail and finished my hike with my face covered with mud, has not killed my desire to run the trails. toad-logo-for-mr.-toads-1Parkinsons may have taken my ability to safely run trails, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t hike them. And so I will. I use my trekking poles and that keeps me stable enough to feel confident on the trail.

This morning I am supposed to go to Hart Park with my step-daughter but it may not work out. I am in what is referred to as an ‘off’ period with my Parkinsons which leaves me feeling weak and unstable. Nevertheless, there will be better days.

Now, what you may ask is Mr. Toads. This refers to an annual trail race put on by our local running club, and it is called Mr. Toads Wild Run. And believe me, it is wild. There is a 20K distance and a 5K, but they both start and end the same. The start is 1 mile of a steep uphill climb to the top where the two races split. The 20K continues on with lot’s of miles of rolling hills, including at least one challenging climb. toads_2014_map_5kThe 5K becomes mostly level until it reaches a steep downhill where it joins up with the 20K runners again. This downhill leads to the entrance to Mr. Toads Gully which is truly wild. Downhill, constant curves with berms on both sides and very narrow, making it difficult to pass. After exiting the gully, about a half of a mile, it is a fast downhill to the finish.

I have done the 20K version and the 5K in various years. I think the 20K is definitely not in the cards for me, but this year I plan to do the 5K. It will be my first race I have ever done with trekking poles, but I am confident I can pull it off. I will have plenty of support from my step-daughter who is going to run it. It will be her first trail race.

This race is not until December so I have plenty of time to train. As with everything else, I leave it in God’s hands.Walking Parkinsons

 

Published by mistake

Posted on April 16, 2019

I recently started working on a post called Who Am I Really? Imagine my surprise when I realized that I had published it instead of saving it for completion later. Bottom line, it wasn’t finished!! I have a lot more to say on the subject, so I guess the published one was Part One, and, stay tune for Part Two.

Who Am I Really?

Posted on April 13, 2019

Today I had occasioSummerhairdo2018_preview.jpegn to use a public restroom. As I finished washing my hands and turned to leave I was faced by a large mirror. It wasn’t a full-length mirror but it was large enough to see myself from the waist up. I was immediately struck by the image that I saw staring back at me. It was not because it was a particularly attractive image, not at all. It was because the question immediately came to mind, who is that guy? I have been around this earth for 72 years, so I certainly understood the concept of a mirror, and I knew that I was looking at a reflection of myself. 

Stay with me now, this may be a way of thinking that you are not familiar with. I know that I never thought of my image in this way. I am known as being somewhat introspective, and this was one of those prime examples. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I wondered, is what I see the real me? Or is what I think the real me? Is that flesh and blood bald-headed body covered with clothing and wearing glasses Chuck? Or is everything I am thinking and feeling the real Chuck? 

If someone were to ask you if you knew me, your brain would quickly peruse your memory banks and come up with an image. Oh yeah, you would say, I know him. But do you really know me, or just know the package that contains me. You may have spent a lot of time talking to me so you think you know the real me. You have to realize, however, that the things I say to you may not reflect how the real me thinks. I may have said to you what I knew you wanted to hear, or I may have given you an opinion about something that was not really what I believed, but I just didn’t want to hurt your feelings.  See the possibilities here?

A wise woman said, “It doesn’t matter what you say, what you do, or what you believe, what matters is how you do it, how you say it, how you go about it.” (Pastor Tara Thomas Smith) 

 

 

Return to Hart Park

Posted on February 9, 2019

Today it was time to find out if I could still go for a hike in the hills. Ever since I started losing stability and balance due to Parkinson’s disease I have had to give up running and only do fast walking if I have my rollator with me. Whether or not I could tackle the hills of Hart Memorial Park had yet to be tested.

I had used these trails many times in training runs as well as races, so I knew what to expect as far as the extreme hills. In fact, I picked the hike I intended to do because it included a steep 1-mile hill right out of the parking lot. What I didn’t expect was the mud.

Jason and I met up in the parking lot and we set off for what should have been a two-mile loop up the hill and then down through what is known in these parts as Mr. Toads Gully, the site of the annual Mr. Toads Wild Run 5K and 10-Mile trail races. For the first mile, I felt really strong and powered up the 1-mile hill with my trekking poles in 20 minutes. Considering how muddy it was, that wasn’t so bad. The problems started when we topped out and bore left to what should have been a trail leading down to the gully.

Now, as I said, I have run and hiked these trails many times. There was no excuse for me not to know exactly how to get to where I wanted to go. Not so much. That’s right, I lost my place in the geography and we wandered a bit trying to get back on track. I finally decided we were better off just back-tracking and returning back down the 1-mile trail. The problem was, I lost track of that also! Fortunately, Jason had his GPS running, so we were able to get back on track and follow our trail in reverse to get back to the parking lot.

The problems were not over. While hiking the steep downhill in the mud I put my foot in the wrong place and quickly found myself face down in the mud. Half my face was covered in mud as well as most of my sweatshirt and jeans. I had a small cut on my forehead which was putting out more blood than it should have. The worst part though was the severe injury to my pride. I had been doing so well overcoming my Parkinson’s and its limitations and then suddenly fell on my face like a newbie right in front of my good friend. But, he was gracious and we finished our hike without further incident, although we logged 4 miles instead of the planned 2!

So is my little incident going to keep me from going back to Hart Park? Not likely! I will, however, wait until the weather dries up a bit. I think my wife is right, also, that I should try to always go with someone else.