Dead Ends.

After receiving some disappointing news, I invoked a long lost tradition: going for an extensive run to clear the mind.

At eight o’clock the South African president addressed the people about the new lockdown rules. There would be an increase. In particular, Gauteng, the province where about a third of the people I would like to see lives, would be closed. This is also the province where the airport is located. I had a lot of things on my head, and this was just another one added to it. So I decided to put on my running shoes and see where the road takes me.

Now this has been a long standing way of coping with heavy emotions. Having to move my legs gives me something to do. This means I can talk to God without distractions, apart from the occasional navigational issue. So, out we go. First past the university, then around the lake, and into the thicket where I’ve never been before. Or at least, so was the plan.

Left foot. Right foot. Breathe in. Breathe out.

It takes some time to get into. I first need to get out of town, and into the quieter areas. Meanwhile I need to find the rhythm. Left foot. Right foot. Breathe in. Breathe out. Alright, there we have it. Now just get past those youths playing loud music and we’ll be all set to start our thought-talk.

Ok. Where to start? There are still options. Maybe the lockdown will be lifted after the fourteen days. Maybe I could just rent a car, that might allow me to travel about freely. Maybe it won’t be so bad. Ah great here’s the thicket. Hmm let’s see. We’ll head in that direction. Agh who am I kidding, I might just as well rebook now and wait for another opportunity next year.

Ooh I didn’t know there’s a lake on this side as well. Oh wait a minute, this is the same lake as before. Guess I wasn’t really paying attention to where I’m going. Oh well, I’m not turning back now, let’s head around the other side of the lake and then into the thicket again.

Ah the forest really has the nicest smell on rainy days like this. Still not as nice as the smell of baking red sand, with a veld fire in the distance though… Man, I miss the fatherland. It’s been 18 months since I last saw the family. I can’t miss the opportunity now! I have been planning on this for months! Maybe I should have just gone when I had the chance… Ah who I am I kidding, there was no real opportunity in months prior.

Wait, what have I been doing?

Alright, just keep on following the red and yellow markers, and this will be a real nice route. Stop. This is swampland. Not just a puddle due to the rain, actual swampland. Dead end. What’s that itching? Oh right swampland is the breeding ground for stingy-flies. (Yes I know they’re called mosquitoes, but still.) Seems like every fifteen seconds of standing still attracts five of them. Let’s turn around and get moving again.

Wait, what have I been doing? I didn’t go out to lament the events of this weekend. Or to try and find a solution by myself. I went out to talk to the Lord! To meditate on his Word! Yes, let’s get to it. Ok, what does He say that would be applicable in this situation? Oh the irony! Today’s sermon was about the Israelites complaining about not having food and water when they were rescued from the land of Egypt!

Oh hello moos. You sure look surprised. Have you never seen a man pass your meadow at this speed before? Right. I mean, not just the direction we’ll take, but also: let’s continue. God had a plan when the Israelites seemed to run out of water and food. What could His plan be for my current situation? Well, we don’t know. At least, not until we’ve seen it through to the end. But still, what could be His plan for my current situation?

Eindhoven 3. Great, we’ll just follow this road and then we’ll be home with a run that was only slightly too long. Well, maybe, God is trying to prepare me for my future work. I’m sure the jungle will have all sorts of pleasant smells as well; but once I’m out there, I don’t expect to leave the field more than once every three years. So maybe God is just trying to shape my character here. Look, this is the road that is laid out for you, now get used to walking it. Hmm, the literal road I’m on is a bit boring though. Let’s just go to the right here and then we’ll get back home. That road I was on was leading a bit too much South anyway.

Actually, this is a pretty good metaphor.

Hey, this road looks familiar. Oh, yep, there’s the moos again. Well let’s take a slightly different road, then keep left and we’ll get back to familiar grounds in no time. Yeah, that’s what’s really important though isn’t it. Despite knock-backs, we just need to trust in the Lord. Keep an eye out for what He is trying to teach us. And grow to be more Christ-like evermore.

Eindhoven 3. Oh boy. It seems I kept left a bit too much. I’ve unintentionally walked in a circle for the third time this evening. It seems that I do require some more focus if I want to rely on my sense of direction. Ok, this time we’ll follow the road no matter how boring it is. Actually, this is a pretty good metaphor. I’ve been worrying about going to see the family twice before. Once in July 2020, and once in February this year. I’ve tried joining the army, and ended up with a worthless certificate. I’ve put my fullest into getting a degree at university, but ended up right where I began. But through all things I have come to know God. And just like the literal road brought me to a sign that points home by “chance”, my life events have brought me to God by “chance”. We don’t always know where we will end up, but we do know that God is always with us. And so it is in this case. I do not know when I will get to see my family again, but I do know that God will be with me every minute until I do. (And then when I do also, of course.)

That was a good run. Way longer than I should have at my current level of fitness. But good.

Author: Daniel

1 thought on “Dead Ends.

  1. Man Danile I can’t tell you how much this resonated with me! We missed you so much and can’t wait to have you back in Africa again!

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