The sensation of strength and freedom coursed through me. I was running along the lakefront. LSD traffic howling on my right side and Lake Michigan, gray and ornery, humming on my left. Running and sleeping are the only two activities during which I allow myself to go offline. iPhone seems a manacle around the neck of leisurely reflection. I should go offline more often.

Thanking God for health and the ability to run, to stretch the taut muscles in my legs, to take in energy with each inhalation and release stress with each exhalation, I felt free. Liberty is a theme that continues to crop up during this season of my life. I haven’t figured out the greater purpose for this; why I have become newly aware of so many shackles that have bound me these four decades.

I like to listen to podcasts during my long runs. Snap Judgement’s most recent episode told the story of a man who had been coerced into confessing to rape and falsely imprisoned for 21 years. I could not imagine the sheer hell of finding myself in that kind of situation. Lately, the mere thought of being trapped in any sort of way brings on a panicky feeling, forcing me to quickly switch gears and ponder more liberating topics. Left to my own devices, I’d more than likely lose my mind if I found myself incarcerated.

The water was slightly choppy and the air a bit chill on this particular morning. Not many others were out, which gave me the pleasurable feeling that I owned the lakefront. Upon finishing the seven mile goal I’d set for myself, I decided to walk along the beach at 63rd Street. No other people were about, but I knew I wasn’t alone. The soles of my running shoes crunched over shells and pebbles piled up on the sand. Lake Michigan lapped up, foaming at my trail as I listened to a man tell the horror story of how he lied about being a sex offender in order to convince a parole board to let him out of prison.

I squatted down, looking for interesting shaped pieces of driftwood to sand and smooth into curious sculptures. I breathed in the essence of nature while in the midst of a city seemingly on the verge of destruction. I offered silent praise to God for all of this; for freedom.

Psalm 139:7-10 (NIV)

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.


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