Run No. 4 – Accidentally in French


Time 42’ 06”                      Total Distance 7.3 km (4.54 miles)

Up and out this morning for a run around Watermeads Country Park. Great day for it!

This time I was determined to avoid my previous mistake – losing my sense of direction and running around King Lear’s Lake twice!

So as the lake hove into view I spotted some white statues the other side of the lake as a marker that would let me know I was getting close to the start point.

So there I was chugging along in my ponderous and belaboured way when I suddenly realised, “Wait a minute! I can’t see those statues on the other side of the lake anymore!”

I was desperately scanning the far side of the lake when suddenly they popped into view right in front of me! I had actually gone three quarters of the way around the lake without realising it!

This was quite a surprise, but I guess on a gently curving path it is difficult to measure how far around you have gone.

I only had one moment of madness on today’s run. As I ran past a lady walking her dog, the dog crouched down in front of her trying to incite her to throw a stick for him. I naturally responded, “Il veut jouer!” (He wants to play).

In order to explain, for the past 14 years I have lived in France, so speaking French is something I have learned to do almost unconsciously.

In my distracted state, thinking about running, not losing my way, trying to forget the discomfort. Some wiring got crossed in my brain and instead of my thought coming out in English, it came out in French.

Which made me realise that this same cross-wiring often happens, but without the language change.

For example, I might make a comment to someone, but instead of expressing my thoughts in a gentle, sensitive, respectful way, I might find myself accidentally uttering a more cutting, hurtful remark. Often this is not intentional, it is purely accidental, but the results can be major – relationships can be damaged, even broken, just through a careless, accidental word.

It is not for no reason that the Bible refers to the tongue as one of the most significant parts of a human person;

Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21)

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble (Proverbs 21:23)

I read once that the best judge of a man was not his actions, but his reactions. It is our unfiltered responses  to concrete situations that best reveal the reality of who we are.

An accidental phrase in French is not a major problem, but it reminded me that my mind and my mouth are more than capable of running away with me. And they can run me bang into trouble.

But if you read stories in the local press of a mad French runner at large in Watermeads – please think kindly of him!