Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spiritual Work-Out

If you're not familiar with this blog, here's a short introduction. I tend to write these posts "stream of consciousness"; un-edited; absent of finesse. Consequently, I'll contradict myself from time to time, write things that disappoint those who want me to be more orthodox, and reveal myself as a rough-hewn work in progress. That's Okay; I'm fine with being imperfect. I'm honestly more interested with my general trajectory than in my writing "holding water" every time I post...
- DEREK

A few days ago I bundled up in my thickest sweater, pulled on my warmest coat, fished out a pair of gloves, and ventured out into the cold. I even donned an old tweed hat that I purchased years ago in England.

But the payoff - for getting up before light and walking three miles with an enthusiastic pooch - was huge. By the time we made it down to the 8th hole on the golf course there was enough light to catch the heavy, even frosting; the effect made the fairway and the green emit a pale, translucent, light.

I paused to read my daily Upper Room Devotional, and discovered these words from First Timothy: "Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future." -1 Timothy 4:8 (TEV)

Obviously, I've talked along this line before. But I hadn't run across Paul's particular take on the idea in his letter to Timothy, and it is helping me articulate something that's been on my mind recently in terms of contemplating the future.

Different seasons of my life have come with unique emphases. As a young person I was pretty much defined by physicality: strength, endurance, balance, speed, hand-eye coordination. Later I became more conscious of my intellect, powers of reason, clear thinking and communication; I didn't mature as a writer until I was in my forties, and then I didn't publish my first book until I was fifty because I really wasn't ready - it took that long to develop the capacity and the understanding and the insight to have anything "book-worthy" to say.

And now - approaching 54 - I am beginning to sense a spiritual coming of age that has been decades in the making. It is occurring to me that - maybe - this emergent stage of my life may be defined more by spirituality than by the physical or the intellectual.

Of course there is a lot of overlap - we are an integrated package, more complex and more interconnected than we realize. It's still important - maybe more than ever - that I take care of my body; and I am still learning how to utilize all the potential held in the phenomenal mechanism of the human brain and psyche. But I think there may be a significant shift in terms of emphasis.

I, as a created being, am constantly learning the wonders of what it means to be human. More and more I'm realizing the limitless potential vested in aligning my spirit with the care and the purposes of the Creator. That understanding effects my spirit, my intellect, my physical body... and every as-yet-unrealized aspect of my life as a Child of God existing in the borderland of both time and eternity.

Good job I'm so young yet - so much still to learn!
Love and blessings - DEREK

1 comment:

Susan said...

Derek,
I'm actually not reading the book yet, but I was glancing over your posts from the previous month when I came across this post---which I loved reading on the Upper Room devotional from January. I read the same devotional every morning and on this morning as I was contemplating yet again how I need to be dedicated to keeping my physical body in shape, I was reminded in such a tangible way that taking time everyday for "spiritual exercise" is of so much more importance! So, it is my goal to do both. Thanks for the encouragement.