Thursday, December 01, 2011
I’ve been running better lately. A little farther. Maybe faster and just generally feeling better while running. Yesterday I had my first bad run in a while. Only went a quarter mile and turned around and came walking/jogging back.
But I had my longest run in a long, long time today (4 miles!) and felt pretty darn good too. What the hell happened yesterday? Hmmm….
I know! Of all those recent runs it was the only one where I didn’t wear my old Maine East High School sweatshirt. So what have we learned children?
THE SWEATSHIRT IS MAGIC.
The same logic works for prayer. When you pray for someone or something and it ‘works’ we’re happy to celebrate the magic while ignoring the millions of other explanations for the outcome. Our prayers were ‘answered’. One reinforcement of a magical hypothesis tends to make many of us ignore other possibilities and conclude that the hypothesis has been proven to be true. This is especially true if you WANT the hypothesis to be true because you’ve already made a philosophical and monetary commitment to magical happenings and their trappings.
So, besides lacking my magical sweatshirt what else could have been different about yesterday’s run? What did I eat the night before? How much sleep? What time of day did I run? Temperature for the run? Wind? There are hundreds of variables and thousands of combinations of those variables that work for or against us runners. We sort out some as we learn about our own running bodies. I cannot run before 7. I can’t and there is not enough magic in any shirt to change that. I can’t run 2 days in a row (very often). My body needs an easy day between runs. Things like that.
When someone is prayed for AND they recover from an illness some think they’re prayers have been answered. Well, they were ‘hoping’ for such and outcome (I can’t find a real difference between hoping and praying) and they got it. It certainly is tempting to conclude that one caused the other but there’s no logical reason to do that and a million other factors to consider. The drugs worked. The doctors diagnosis was correct. The body heals itself sometimes and so on.
Does praying for someone make the one doing the praying feel better? I think it does. I think it makes them feel like they're doing something in a time of maybe feeling helpless. That's fine and I'd never interfere. But ease up on schools and government involvment with church and prayer ok? And don't get on your high moral horse with me if you're praying for someone and I'm just hoping.
Well tomorrow is an off day for running but I'll be back on it come Saturday. I better remember to get that sweat shirt in the wash!