Monday, 30 July 2007

Resisting the natural impulse by Virginia

I made the mistake of looking at the route of the half marathon yesterday, oops it looks a bit hillier than I thought. So I hope my hill run last week will help when it comes to the day. I ran to the mantra, "Run on Peacemakers" which was a great rhythm for going down and up, down and up. The coming up was really hard on some occasions, I got tired, not getting as far as I had at first; I got distracted and overshot my time for turning back. But once or twice I put some welly in it and got further than I meant to. The running down was an essential part of it, helping me restore my energies for the upward climb. And it felt like a good metaphor for our campaigning work, we need the downhill to keep us going to the top. Sometimes it feels more difficult & we feel like we have failed;sometimes we get distracted from the task; and every now and then we get a whole lot further than we ever thought possible.

I didn't manage 3 runs this week but did get out again for 90 minutes on Saturday. "Run on you Poor" and "Run on those who Mourn" were background thoughts. As I ran, I reflected that we cannot be physically present to comfort those who mourn, or to build the justice of kingdom of heaven for the poor. However we can help by our prayers, our solidarity actions and of course by our fundraising. At the end of the run I had a nasty encounter with 2 young lads on a motorbike who were zooming up and down the cycle path, nearly knocking me and two children flying. I was so furious I shouted angrily at them. They shouted back and deliberately tried to frighten me when they turned round and passed me the other way. I think I was right to confront them, but I realised afterwards being so angry could have created a more dangerous situation. It made me think that an angry violent response,so often a natural impulse, is one that leads us to worse trouble in the end.

That's why we need projects like Wi'am in Palestine, a small beacon of hope, suggesting that violence is not the only answer. There is an alternative way to live in the face of great oppression. We were privileged to have the Director of Wi'am, Zoughbi Zoughbi, as a guest in our home last night. Listening to his stories of life in Palestine reminded us how much easier it is to be a peacemaker in the tranquillity and safety of England. The hills of that half marathon feel a little less daunting when I think of the good work Wi'am is doing. If you feel equally inspired to donate to this sponsored run, please contact nick@for.org.uk for more details.