Running on a Treadmill

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison. At the time, black prisoners were given the fewest rations. As a D-group prisoner (the lowest classification), he was allowed 1 visitor and letter every 6 months. In 1993, he received the Nobel Peace Prize Award for dismantling apartheid. One year later, he became the first democratically elected South African president.

27 years in prison.....

We pray to God that we never have to endure such hardship. We pray to God that our cross doesn't involve such humiliation, isolation, and sorrow. I have heard it being put that jail is no place for a human being - even a human being of the worst kind. What must have it felt like to be a human being of the best kind, and being treated like an animal? We can find the most illuminating example of this in the text of the 4 gospels.

Most people in their twenties can attest to feeling like they are running on a treadmill. I hope I am not being too presumptuous by assuming that this can go on until our 30s and 40s - maybe beyond. We are being conditioned for no reason. We are running with no end goal in mind. We are on a road that is artificially designed to keep us at bay. Someone told us that the faster we run the better; but no one told us that speed does not matter if we remain stationary.

The post graduate culture loves to be productive. I have heard that word so many times. "Gee golly, today I was so productive. Let me treat myself to some ice cream. Let me treat myself to this or that." Sorry, no one actually said Gee golly - but at least you can hear my distaste. After someone is productive, they like to talk about how they are going to treat themself to something. I am more appauled by this than the productive part.

You can be as productive as you want, but your production is probably a tenth of what those with monstrous work ethic produce. It is in our human make-up to want to feel productive. However what is more important than feeling productive, is being productive. I told myself that I would not quote the Bible in these postings. I told myself to leave it out - that this was someone else's calling. But I'm changing my mind like a weak human being. "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." - Psalm 127:1 - there, at least I gave you a cliche verse so I don't sound too into my Scriptures.

Often times, the Lord builds our houses without us - or without our knowing and understanding - and ESPECIALLY without our input. My most productive moments form when I feel imprisoned. My biggest times of real development come when I cannot see further than my front lawn. My deepest times with my Creator are when I can't feel Him, or touch Him, or even experience the warmth of His love. St. John of the Cross calls this the "dark night of our soul." I have felt counter-productive. I have felt completely futile. I have felt like the filth on a beggar's shoe. I have felt backward. I have felt like a poor man's cancer. I have felt like a human being unfit for anything - unfit for even menial human tasks. My treadmill gets faster, and I keep going nowhere...and I sing songs about wanting to be anywhere but here..

Stay on your treadmill. Keep an open mind to the fact that you will eventually catapult into something of a completely new dimension. I urge you to stay on your treadmill for now. When it is time for you to get off and walk forward, you will be ever so ready. You will be the CEO. You will be the Captain. You will walk with confidence, and nothing will touch you. Peace and ever so much love to you - John Baptist!


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