Two Views

I am not a runner. I would much prefer flying my epic 310% speed mount in World of Warcraft going to the gym. The most I’ve ever accomplished in terms of running is probably contributing a couple of points to Sulaiman House after (barely) finishing the annual cross-country event in Kuala Kangsar.

So yeah, running’s not exactly my forte.

Occasionally, however, with much ‘encouragement’ from my lovely wife (thanks dear!), I gather enough motivation to drag my fat ass off the couch, put on my sports shoes, and go out for a run.

And on days like today, when I arrive early enough at the park (which is just next to our house by the way) that there are very few souls around, I am rewarded with glorious views of the landscape bathed in the golden light of the rising sun.

While out on my run this morning, I came across an unoccupied bench in the park and sat there for a while, absorbing the view and appreciating the tranquility around me. I think it’s a shame that in our world today, we seem to have lost any appreciation for the simple act of being alone with our thoughts. Our days are filled with Zoom calls, Spotify playlists, YouTube videos…it’s rare to have a moment of solitude.

But moments of solitude are very important, especially if you get to spend it in nature. They remind us that the world doesn’t revolve around us, that there is something bigger, and more importantly, that the world is in God’s hands.

I like this quote from an article by Andrew Sullivan entitled ‘I Used To Be A Human Being‘:

The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or be reborn.

Sitting on that park bench earlier, I couldn’t help but recall these verses from Surah Ali ‘Imran of the Qur’an:

There truly are signs in the creation of the heavens and earth, and in the alternation of night and day, for those with understanding, who remember God standing, sitting, and lying down, who reflect on the creation of the heavens and earth: ‘Our Lord! You have not created all this without purpose– You are far above that!– so protect us from the torment of the Fire. 

Surah Ali ‘Imran [3:190-191]