Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Comfort of the Familiar

Even for those of us who like adventure, there can be something comforting about the familiar--especially when what is going on around us is somewhat unfamiliar. We have had a nice warm spell over the past few days, but when snow and warm meet, it creates wet. And when wet freezes, you get the picture. So this morning's run, outside in the dark, was a mosaic of dry patches of path and slick patches of glare ice. Needless to say, it makes for a slower run.

But in the midst of surface conditions that called for constant vigilance, it was good to run a familiar route that held no surprises other than those related to the coefficient of friction on any particular surface. In general I like a new route or a new challenge, but this morning it was so nice to just dial in a comfortable pace, watch my step, and put 5.2 in the rear view mirror. Did these miles count less because they were on an old, familiar route? Was there less training benefit because I have been over this same ground many times? Not at all. The training effect comes from completing the task, not from the where.

Sometimes I find myself devaluing devotional time that I spend reading a familiar Bible passage. Sometimes I act as if it only counts if it is something new or different or parts of the Bible where the pages are still stuck together. Almost as if God is more pleased with me when I read an obscure passage than a well-known one. How ridiculous. I suppose that if the end goal was to read every page, then it may make sense to plow through the unfamiliar. But if the goal is the relationship, then where is the harm in taking the time to read and reflect on the "good" parts. Sort of like looking through a scrapbook and remembering the trip or the people.

Pressing On!