Whenever you run in a race, there is a lot of preparation to be done, and your plan is always to complete the race. But sometimes something occurs that stops you in your tracks.
Japan's first appearance at the Olympic Games was in Stockholm, 1912. Two athletes represented the country, including their marathon runner Shizo Kanakuri.
He began the race with the other runners but along the way was overcome with heat. It seems Kanakuri, on the verge of fainting from heat exhaustion, had been running past a banker's villa on the outskirts of Tureberg when he spotted people drinking orange juice in the garden. He stopped to quench his thirst but stayed a little too long - more than an hour. It was now, he thought, too late to get back in the race. He took a train to his hotel and caught a boat back home, too ashamed to tell anyone he was leaving.
For more than 50 years Shizo was listed as a missing person in Sweden until a journalist finally found him: he had spent several decades living a quiet life in southern Japan.
In 1966 the Swedish Public Television network called him with an offer: would you like to finish your run? The 76-year-old Kanakuri accepted and travelled to Stockholm to finish the race he had started so many years before. This time he did cross the finish line. His final time was 54 years, eight months, six days, eight hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds.
Like Kanakuri, I have been somewhat side-tracked from my path for a number of months. This blog, which I have so much enjoyed writing, has been sadly neglected. But, now I am back on track. I'm ready to pick up the pen again (or whatever the equivalent phrase is for typing on a keyboard) and see what flows.
I could be annoyed at myself for having been side-tracked but I've decided that it is actually ok. Our faith journey can often have similar moments. There are times when we are going full steam ahead - everything flows and we are moving and growing. Then there are times when we stagnate or even go off the rails completely. Then there are times when we too are side-tracked. But, I do believe that God understands. We can be fickle creatures but God is patient with us. There may even be learning and growing to do in the side-tracks that will stand us in good stead when we feel we are back on the right path again.
Wherever you are in your journey, and however long it takes, Go with the infinite grace, peace and patience of God.