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It’s easy to ignore stirrings in my soul.

I’ve found it to be true that whenever I feel God nudging me to do something, it’s typically very awkward and uncomfortable. Rarely, if ever, is it easy. I’m still waiting for God to say, "Joshua. Go. Buy as many tacos from Taco Bell as you can afford. Eat. Watch Scrubs on TiVo. Enjoy."

Is it odd that God has this sort of caveman vernacular in my head? It’s just me? Okay.

Fort Wayne, Indiana isn’t exactly the most scenic place to live. I’m not complaining, because I do love it there. It’s just that I also love mountains and clean rivers and trails that run from Georgia to Maine and girls who know how to build their own fires. It’s an attractive quality, I admit.

So I take what I can get. Fort Wayne has a path called the River Greenway that stretches about 21 miles (hardly Georgia to Maine) through the city. I drive out to it to go running as often as I can. It’s a very peaceful place with lots of families on bikes and runners and walkers and old men holding the hands of old women. It’s lovely.

I was running on the Greenway one day, working through a teaching in my head. I don’t listen to music when I run because then I can’t think, and my times of running are my times to clear my head and process thoughts. I got about halfway through my run when I passed an elderly gentleman sitting on a park bench with a really large walking stick.

First of all, I think walking sticks are neat. Secondly, I wear Velcro shoes almost every day during the winter, so I can relate on at least one level to people of that generation who simply don’t see the need to tie their shoes. I understand completely. Extra work? Who needs it! I’ve got enough to do already.

I waved to the man as I ran by. He smiled and waved back. That’s when it hit me.

Turn around.

What? No. No. I’m in a good stride. I don’t even know that guy.

Turn around.

This is just silly. No. It would be awkward, and I don’t even have anything to say.

Turn arou …

Fine. But if I do this then I get tacos tonight.

I turned and ran back to the man sitting down on the bench.

“Good weather today, isn’t it?” I said to the stranger.

“Oh yes. Why yes it is,” he replied. “These days come few and far between this time of year. I really love all of the …”

The next 20 or so minutes were filled with Charles telling me all about his job, his passion for the outdoors, his time in the navy, how he walks this 6 mile stretch every other day or so. It was brilliant. Rather, he was brilliant. Nothing profound happened. No miraculous conversion occurred out there on the Greenway. I didn’t draw a chasm with a bridge and a cross and writing the word sin in the chasm. I simply listened while he told stories. That was it.

And I could tell that he needed it, too. It seemed as though Charles had all of these things that he wanted to share but just didn’t have the opportunity to do so as often as he’d like.

I think that’s all there was to it that day. I don’t think there was some other agenda that I missed or didn’t fulfill. I think the agenda was love. That’s it. It may seem simple, but to me it’s so incredibly complex and intricate. It’s because of things like this in my recent past that I’ve begun to ask God to stir things within me more and more.

I want those nudges. Pulls. Pushes. I want those things that can seemingly be awkward or uncomfortable at first, because I don’t believe that this kingdom is a kingdom of comfort and ease. I do believe that at times it can be hard and challenging. This circumstance mentioned above was not exactly very difficult, but the challenging thing was to overcome my insecurities and natural reaction to pull away from such instances. That’s the kingdom of which I am a part.

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