Running Well -by Mark J.

Mark Johnson | October 25, 2017

I first saw him three years ago while on vacation. “Well, there goes another nut running (literally) for public office,” I thought.  Maybe he wanted to be this island’s mayor, or police chief or dogcatcher. 

He looked to be a bit north of 70 years old as he was crushing the five-mile long bike and running trail laid down parallel to the roadway.   Clipping along at a steady and healthy pace, he would wave, flash an enthusiastic thumbs up and offer an infectious smile to the passing cars with as much a joyful welcome as if we were all his long-lost grandchildren.

The hand-held sign he carried was my clue that he was running for something more than exercise.  I only saw the blank side, but I couldn’t help noticing how much he was into his advocacy.

Sometimes he would twirl the sign. Sometimes he would pump it over his head like a weightlifter.  Sometimes he would move it around his body with such energy I had to change my mind.  He must be selling something and was working on a commission.  Poor guy. He should be enjoying his retirement.

Two days later I saw him again.  He was up to the same antics. This time my mounting curiosity caused me to slow down enough to make sure I could read that sign he was so passionately promoting.

It contained one word: “Love.”  That’s all.  “Love!”  This guy.  Running his heart out.  Waving and smiling like we were all his closest friends. Sharing his hope, without being intrusive or offensive.  I felt it.  From a stranger.  And it’s message and the messenger’s joy stayed with me long after the vacation was over.

When I saw him again, just a couple of weeks ago while vacationing in the same spot, I was excited.  He had kept at it.  He was preserving the faith.  He hadn’t lost his luster or his zeal.  This time his sign read: “Brave.”   

He knew what we needed.  As I stood a little taller and ran a little stronger on my journey through life.

3 months


As a Baptist church affirming the liberty of conscience, we recognize each individual's right to his or her own opinion and welcome your comments, positive or negative. We strive for communication that invites a respectful and personal exchange of opinions and thoughts. This is often not possible through running dialogues in our comment section. To respect the dignity of all persons, we may delete comments that contain profanity, hate speech, or threatening language.

There are no comments

Posting comments after three months has been disabled.
Central Baptist Church