My running days peaked somewhere in the early 80’s.  I was putting in endless hours jogging all over West
Hollywood and the San Fernando valley.  It was exhilarating and had the added bonus of occasional bonding
with total strangers doing similar activities.  I had many favorite trails and was always on a quest to discover
new ones, but by far the most memorable one was way up in the Hollywood hills. It was a five mile trail around
Lake Hollywood which was a reservoir hidden from view and challenging to get to by way of winding roads
climbing upward through exclusive neighborhoods.  The public wasn’t encouraged to discover it.  For that
reason not too many people frequented the area, although each time the YMCA sponsored a “10-K fun run”
around the perimeter, more people fell in love with the place and some would return.  While jogging around
the reservoir I would see an occasional deer or fox, a random mist would wet my face when small wisps of
wind clipped the water, and about half way around I would come upon a panoramic view of the city far below.  
I can still envision Charlton Heston in
Earthquake and his relationship with the damn’s wall.  This enchanting
place was an ideal location and a secret well kept.

Running was such a solitary thing and kept me in touch with nature.  In that vein, anyone could run in an
Olympic setting with a countless number of people cheering and applauding, but all the while you could still
be caught up in the sensation of being all alone.  Running puts you in your own space, lost in your thoughts,
doing your own thing.  Ultimately no one can do it for you.

Hebrews 12:1 says that we are encompassed about with a great cloud of witnesses.  In our solitary running of
the race of life as a Christian, there’s a spiritual support group of sorts, the invisible people who have gone
before us.  They’re the cheering crowds in the stadium, silent that they may be, but they’ve run the race
before us and finished in victory.  Their purpose is to encourage us so that we will too.  Perseverance.  
Jogging another half mile when it hurts.

Maybe they’re not the only ones encouraging us.  If our eyes were capable of seeing the principalities and
powers which are all around us, we might be terrified.  Not only are the good guys out there, so are the bad
guys. There is a plethora of spiritual activity in the air about us.  Legions of angelic beings, seraphim,
cherubim, watchers and holy ones, are at God’s command to protect us, and that they do without ceasing.  
There’s more to the wishful imaginations about guardian angels than most people comprehend.

Clouds are good.
The Cloud