Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Night Run

In it's essence, a blind person's sense of distance is exclusively connected to the metered effort required to move through it. The bathroom is ten steps from the bedroom. The dinner table is twenty steps from bedroom. Therefore the dinner table is farther than the bathroom. This works until assisted travel is introduced. The next town is reached by walking to the car which is twenty steps away like the table. Therefore the next town is the same distance away as the table. The difference is you can only reach the next town by sitting in the car for a certain time, as if the space around you needs time to change rather you needing time to move through it. In this way, space becomes an increasingly fluid but not irrational concept to the blind person even though the sighted person knows otherwise.

As I run around my country neighborhood in the pitch black, I feel that sense of warped space. I am the sighted and the blind person at once and my mind is on high alert without the usual indicators of distance. I feel the texture and tilt of the road with each foot strike. When I know it's safe, I close my eyes so that not even the distant porch light or the faint glimmer of the setting, crescent moon aid my sense of progress or direction. The feel of the center ridge of the road beneath my feat says I'm on the right track. The effort of each leg pushing forward and exchanging balance in cadence says I'm moving forward. "Where" is a mystery that my senses are trusting to my memory. It's thrilling... and short lived. A few steps in row unexpectedly miss the feeling of the center ridge and my sense of place on the road is gone. My eyes open and the few porch lights along the way give just enough light to guide me home.

Much of faith is the same. The Kingdom of Christ is closer than the dinner table. I just cant walk to it. My feet know what to feel for but they don't always knot how to find the trail when they lose it, and it can happen so quickly. Sometimes, even with my eyes open, it's dark enough that only my memory of seeing makes me able to recognize a trustworthy path by its shadowy fragments. The rhythmic shift of my balance confirms progress and direction that natural sight can't reliably indicate. I miss a step and my eyes widen. A porch light leads me home, left on by someone who's already there and waiting for me to arrive - the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

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