Thursday, January 23, 2014

The wave

We have been in Dulce for five months and I would imagine that by now just about everyone in the congregation knows I run.  I would imagine that most people in town know I run, either from seeing me running on the side of the road or hearing about it from someone who saw me and told them.  I haven't seen very many runners since moving to Dulce and only once did I see a person who was clearly an Anglo, like me. 

I run every day.  Sometimes a few miles.  Sometimes quite a few miles.  I have run marathons and I found one in Shiprock in May that I'm training for.  But even if there wasn't the marathon on my schedule I would be running, outdoors, year-round.  It is just one of those things I do.

If you have seen me out running, did you notice that I wave?  I wave at nearly every car that goes by.  I toss in a "Hi!" at every cyclist or person walking along the road.  On occasion I also greet the dogs.  Waving at cars is something I started to do 5 or 6 years ago.

When we lived in Minnesota I ran along a particular section of road 5 to 7 days a week.  One lane in each direction, with a decent shoulder.  The speed limit was 45 and there was 'no passing' allowed.  I know, from driving that road myself, that the speed limit was easily exceeded.  'No passing' was for a good reason, although I saw people do that too. 

Because of my work schedule I ran that section of road in the dark roughly nine months of the year.  I started waving at drivers during the daytime as a protective mechanism.  I figured if I waved during the daytime those drivers might be more mindful of my presence on the road if they were out during the dark.  Before long I was waving at everyone, day and night.

Now waving at drivers is a habit, but the purpose has changed a bit.  Waving has become a way of people noticing me.  Sometimes they wave back.  I don't often make eye contact, partly because at my age my eyes take a bit longer to focus on a face in a vehicle, and by then I am drifting, usually towards traffic.  Waving while mostly looking ahead is safer. 

Being noticed is not for the purpose of fueling my ego, but just for the purpose of opening a conversation later.  I am an outsider, an Anglo pastor, serving a church in a Native American community.  It is likely that there are some people in the community I have waved at many times over the past five months.  I don't know who they are but they know who I am.  And if I run into them at the grocery store, or gas station, or wherever, it is my hope that my wave opens a conversation, one which, in time, may lead to our talking about things of greater importance than running or basketball, or whatever. 

I want God to use my wave to serve His purposes.  I want that wave to open a door and point another person to the joy and peace that is only known in Christ.  In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul writes,

            "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, to all to the glory of God." 

"Whatever"…running, waving, witnessing….may all that I do, and all that you do, serve God, to His eternal glory.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment