Friday, June 26, 2009


I talked to God yesterday.

O.k. I'll back up a bit.
I have been a religious person of various degrees throughout most of my adult life. When I was a teenager I became a 'born again' Christian and converted from my Lutheran roots to the local Mennonite church. I was pretty into it then. I handed out pamphlets, lead the church choir and toured with my own Christian band where I preached and made altar calls. Until I was in my mid-twenties I was very strict about my faith. But then life became a bit more complicated and I abandoned my fundamental view and replaced it with a more liberal 'I think God exists in some form' approach. A vague personal religion without all the exclusivity of Christianity that I believed in so strongly years earlier.
I haven't attended any church for about ten years. I also haven't really spoken a prayer that (I'll be honest here) felt as if anyone was really listening for more than 20 years now. Until yesterday.
I was going for a run. I still run but I am feeling the effects of the chemo a bit so I go slower and walk a bit more once I feel exhausted. I ran for about 3 miles and then decided to walk the last mile home. I took off my headphones and thought that this might be a good time to say a prayer. So I talked out loud while facing toward heaven. 'Dear God' I said. 'I come before you and I ask of you...' then I paused. 'Ask of you?' -what kind of language is that? 'I'm sorry' I continued out loud 'Do you mind if I speak to you in normal English?. You know that I respect you but I these old standards don't really work for me anymore.' And so I just continued to talk about whatever came to my mind while facing forward now. Like talking to a friend walking next to me. Mostly I said that I was grateful about all this great stuff that is happening to me since my diagnosis. But, of course, I also made a few requests. 'I don't know if you gave me this cancer for whatever reason, or if you have some hand in it, or if you're just watching nature unfold but I really need your help.' Overall this conversation went for about 20 minutes until I was home. I said my goodbye and ended with 'Let's talk some more tomorrow. Thanks, though, that was fun.'

When I got home I knew in my heart that someone was listening.

To all the bikers and joggers out there that passed a slightly overweight tall guy with a German team soccer jersey who was talking out loud as he was walking down Wellington Crescent-That was me.


gina said...

I hear you, Olaf - these God-talks really 'saved' me during the hard times when I was sick and very, very low. I'm praying with you. (And looking forward to an evening when we can pull out the board games!)

Jon Buller said...

Again I am profoundly touched by you my friend. praying for you.

kim z. said...

Yep--without all the pomp and circumstance--God meets you where you're at. I too, am a doubter of great faith. Take care and keep having these normal conversations. Let me know when "He" talks back. Lately, God has been "talking" to me by sending various forms of larvae and caterpillars across my path (no, not just canker worms). And one butterfly--but mostly the ugly critters. I think some kind of change is afoot.

David said...

I'm looking forward to crushing you at Heroscape tomorrow, watching one of the 32 movies you bought with me the other day and taking romantic run/walks through the park together.

For all of you biker/runners out there, I'll be the slightly overweight short sweaty white guy in the polka-dot leotard with the dude in the soccer jersey.

See you tomorrow my friend.

Love you brother!

Beans said...

Jesus Olaf!

I can't believe it...

My thoughts and prayers are with you Olaf.

Take care, and I wish you the very best.

stephen m said...

It's good to hear how you feel God is listening - it's nice to have a friend like God around, especially with what you're going through. It sounds like having a listening ear is helpful - maybe God has some answers to your questions, so keep listening. See you on Thursday.