November 3, 2010


I have at various points in my life been witness to abject apathy. India was once place. My school is another.

For some odd reason- nobody runs at my school. I do- when time requires it. And I get strange looks. I don't understand why. People are doing all sorts of things all the time- but nobody stares like when I run...

For a culture plagued by stress, I can't say the same for over-achievement- not, anyway, among young people. Day after day I hear my teachers ask questions of their students... simple questions. 

Did you do the reading? Uhhhh....

What do you think of this piece of art? Uhhhh... 

And big questions. What do you want to do in life? Uhhhh.....

Perhaps in the hyper-glamorized projection of wealth and happiness- disillusionment has sunk in- with nothing to replace it? Maybe school has always been boring? Maybe somewhere along the line a puzzle-piece wasn't put in and lack of knowledge snowballed and they've given up?

I'd think this- except it's widespread- and seems to be... well.... expected.

Like in India. Nobody was ever in a hurry- for anything. Life was inevitable. What you could do today you could also do tomorrow. Sit back. Relax. Let life pass you by.

Once we had an extra-credit project for class- we could bring in cultural food. To make a long story short I arrived with my Moru Curry in class only to discover I'd left the serving spoons back in the cafeteria by the microwave, so off I ran to get them. (Yes, people, I ran! thank goodness for no hall monitors!) I got stares for my trouble. When I skidded back into class- perhaps out-of breath- but quite triumphant- one of the girls asked, incredulously- You ran?!? (What happened to them? Surely this is not Victorianism they are clinging to here?)

You see... People just don't run on my campus.

Students, mind you, will show up to class twenty minutes late- but I  never seen people run- excepting for two notable exceptions. One was a guy pretending to be some sort of horrific, mangled zombie careening his way through the cafeteria on Halloween. The other was one fellow classmate- she runs, too- into our 8:00 class- and she too meets incredulity.

Is running so very bad? Little kids love to run- with abandon. But even sports players run. And beautiful maidens in movies who have had a misunderstanding with their sweethearts run. Business men late for a very important meeting run- and arrive just on time. Surely it could not behoove a student to scooch a little to arrive on time for class?

Or does running require a certain purposefulness- a goal which the runner desires to reach?

Maybe students don't want to arrive on time. Maybe- they have nowhere they want to be. Nowhere they want to go.

Though the Christian's call to run the race with endurance pertains to our spiritual commitment to remain steadfast in faith till the end- it has taken on a new meaning for me. We as Christians are not called to apathy. We are called to run. And run after something. Not what the world runs after- the easiest way, the quickest way, the most pleasurable way. But we are called to run after Christ. -To run after his righteousness- to let it infiltrate out way of life- how we live, react, make our choices, plan ahead, and live the day. We run even  when we look ridiculous- even when everyone around us says- stop! rest! taste this! buy this! take this easier road!

I left class this afternoon- for the first time in hours the sun warmed my upturned face. So I ran. I ran because I could. Because I delighted in feeling the wind against my face.
When the prize is worth winning, the race is worth running.


  1. I saw a boy at school yesterday running through the parking lot, and I thought unthinkingly, "How odd." And I don't even know why it struck me as odd. But truly, no one runs here, unless they're clad in exercise clothes. I guess it's undignified. Not that anyone seems very concerned with dignity. :P

  2. LOL! Ah, indignity! I have thought this, but am loath to fasten on it- precisely because of what you mentioned- the numerous other undignified things that go on. (What about, for example, the indignity of walking into class 20 minutes late- interrupting the teacher- distracting 20-30 people? What about THAT indignity?) So yes.

    But really. I don't expect any mad dashes but what about fast walks? I don't even see fast walks. I am sad. ;-) Every time I break into a fast walk I feel a thousand eyes going... how odd. ;-) and I want to know WHY? I'd like to think I miss complete ridiculousness by a squeak... heh... *laughs* Here's hoping. ;-) :-)

  3. This was amazing, I'm a runner by nature, even when I'm not late. Everyone thinks I'm weird.
    There. Happy?


    *laughs* Yes, very. Thank you, David. :-P

  5. I run a lot, even in a suit. I take the stairs two at a time, or jump the last few and use the momentum. I don't know about you, but when I think and have big, exciting thoughts on my mind, I feel like I need to run to get them out of me.

    And David: everyone thinks I am weird too. I've gotten my fair share of "run, Forest, run!" :-P

  6. I'll run if I'm happy- or upset- but my mother (and complete strangers) find it particularly amusing when I'm thinking- because when I'm thinking on something or planning, imagining, writing- and I'm all fired up with anxiety or ideas- I pace. Rapidly. Often in a circle. :-D It helps the thinking somehow. :-D