Despite everything, I am still managing to more-or-less run a 5k every Saturday morning. In case you are impressed, I should clarify that ‘run’ may be an exaggeration. Whether a symptom of long Covid or middle age, my average time is not what it was a year ago (and it was slow then). Nevertheless, I’ve been turning up at Victoria Park at 9am on Saturdays, sometimes with family and friends (depending on restrictions) and making my way slowly around 2 loops of the park.
Although the whole thing is hard, if I’m honest, I’ve noticed something a little bit strange: the second loop is slightly easier than the first. I’ve wondered if it’s just because I’m warmed up or maybe it’s that I’ve stopped thinking so much about what I’m doing, like being on ‘autopilot’. Or maybe it’s momentum.
I recently listened in on a conversation with two friends who are artists and they were speaking about the importance of momentum in creativity and the fact that stopping and starting can inhibit the artistic flow. There is something to be said for continuing to create, even if it isn’t quite right yet.
With so many of the things that keep us moving forward being different this year, I’ve been asking myself about what adds momentum to my life. What are the small things that might just keep the wheel turning, ever so slightly, so that I am still moving tomorrow?
Physicists, please correct me, but I think that the force that has been exerted in the past is a factor in the ability of an object to keep moving. So, one aspect of momentum for me has been an awareness of the people who have encouraged and taught me over the years, the glimpses that I’ve had of glory and my whole life’s learning of God’s faithfulness. These things, combined with a sense of community with others who share life and prayer, have kept me moving when I lacked the energy or will to propel myself.
In life, we are understandably drawn to the light and sometimes we want to rush to be there. I’ve put up Christmas lights earlier than usual this year and I’ve noticed that others have done the same. Sometimes, however, there is a calling to be where we are in the dark and to let the light come to us.
In the book of Isaiah there is a striking call to be faithful in the darkness;
Who among you fears the LORD
and obeys the voice of his servant,
who walks in the darkness
and has no light,
yet trusts in the name of the LORD
and relied upon his God?Isaiah 50.10
Isaiah goes on to contrast this faithfulness with the people who try to make their own fires to light their own way. Making your own light isn’t what authentically following God means. We’re not called to do it ourselves. We just have to trust in the dark, knowing that hope is coming and light is on the horizon.
This Advent, I’m thankful for the people and the words that have added momentum to my life this year, sometimes coming just when I needed it the most. I hope our travel together in darkness and towards light will be a sign of God’s faithfulness and the glory of God’s love and grace.