Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Running with the word

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
For more than 20 years, I’ve been a dedicated distance runner. On any given Saturday morning, I’ll likely cover 10 miles or more. And for every mile, every yard, God is with me every step. As Hebrews noted, the word of God is active.

Prayer is always a part of my running routine. I’ve had some of my most personal conversations with God while pounding pavement on the streets or enjoying tree-covered trails. The scenery can vary – from watching the sun rise over Sydney Harbor to receiving quizzical stares on Chinese sidewalks to seeing a beautiful rainbow in Columbia, Mo. – but God’s active presence is always at hand.

If you run long enough, it’s not hard to wind up with a trophy or two. Mine sit on a shelf at home. The real prize, though, is God’s company. As sweat pours, as dirt grinds underfoot, God is not sitting on a shelf with manmade trophies. He goes with me.

Like many runners, I have a small mp3 player/FM tuner. Most of the time, it’s tuned to my daily NPR dose of news and current events – which often trigger prayers – but in the last few years, for Lent, I’ve downloaded recordings of books of the Bible from the local public library’s Web site and listened to the active word of God while running those miles.

For fellow stroke survivors, regardless of your level of physical ability, listening to God's active, living word might be just the encouragement you need.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Finally, a resolution

It's been almost 10 years since the stroke that finally led to this blog, and today, it looks like it's all in the past.

The official word came today from an excellent cardiologist, Dr. Sanjeev D. Ravipudi, part of the Missouri Heart Center, that my stroke risk seems now to be in the same range as the general population.

After a procedure to close a patent foramen ovale -- a hole between the two upper heart chambers -- I waited for six months, plus a few weeks, to get the news that the hole is completely sealed, that the likely source of the 1998 stroke is no more. Defeated.

The procedure took place back in June 2007 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, and I knew in late December after an echo test at the Missouri Heart Center that it was successful. I was pretty sure even before that. But today, it's official.

The blog will continue, because if I can provide even a handful of people links or resources after a stroke or help prevent one, it's worth it. Definitely worth it. Thanks be to God.