I’m writing this blog from high above the clouds on my way home from Berlin. Despite all the rain, it was a wonderful week - but in many ways quite surreal.
I love to run. However a nerve issue from Feb 2018 to April 2019 had all but eliminated running from my life. That takes a lot of getting used to, and required a whole lot of re-jigging identity stuff. Quite healthy in hindsight. Anyways, I began to turn the corner in May and ease my way back in to running. I had won a lottery bid to enter one of the world’s largest marathons (in Berlin) and decided to go for it. Leanne (my wife) couldn’t get the last minute vacation time off work so my oldest daughter’s boyfriend Brian suggested he come along. Game on! How cool is that?
Over the course of the week we walked, bussed, trained, scootered and biked all over the city. Museums and memorials. Zoos and gardens. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s home and an old East Berlin brewery. The very somber Sachsenhausen concentration camp and a very joyful Berlin festival. And of course… I took my best shot at the marathon.
Over the course of the week, 2 themes kept coming up. One was age. You can’t avoid that topic in the running community. 47,000 of us were competing ‘against our age group’. I liked that 4 years ago when I was at the front end of the 45-49 year-old category. Not as much now as a 49 year-old! It is unavoidable – with your birth year stamped on your race bib for all to see. But age also came up when people were trying to figure out the connection between Brian and I…and again when we got a personal tour of the Bonhoeffer home from a warm and insightful 72 year-old guide who pointed out that we represented 3 very distinct generations.
The second theme that kept coming up…and the history of Berlin is prone to do this… was lessons learned from the past. Every memorial, every monument, every museum or statue seemed to ask the questions “What happened?”, “Why?” or “How can we ensure it doesn’t happen again?”
And so, as I fly back with those 2 themes fresh on my mind, I’m eager to be together with the Amberlea family on Sunday. Prompted by my time away, I plan to contemplate and share on Sunday morning about one brief lesson God has taught me through each decade of life. Perhaps you want to do some similar reflections? God desires us to take these moments not only for His Spirit to stir gratitude and develop wisdom in our own lives, but as a means for us to pass along both our own experiences and His Story from generation to generation (Psalm 78:1-7).
Almost time for me to land and go buy some Rub A5-35 for my aching legs. See you Sunday morning!