Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 18, 2014- We Are All Connected



            It was nine miles at Stony Creek once again today, and it was really tough.  I have been riding a happy high because my body has been cooperating so much, but today I was showing my age.  My knees, both of them were talking to me especially that last mile.  They were saying, “Um, hello idiot, it would be one thing if you were a solid ten pounds lighter, but you are asking way too much from us.  Enough already!” 
            Then there were the wonky hips.  I’ve hardly had to mention them at all the last couple of months, but today they were an issue- not a deal breaker issue, but enough to make me remember how nervous I was at the beginning of this Boston Marathon journey.  Can my body do this once again?  I know I am not a decrepit old sod, but I tell you, each year rests on my shoulders, and back, and face a little heavier!  
            We made a visit in the evening to our closest friends, the Gibbs (Greg and Andrea) who live close by.  I have a really good sounding board with Greg as he has a number of marathons under his belt and knows how it is.  He is also a Christian pastor, and there is something about him that is just so reassuring and compassionate.  When I shake my head and say, “I don’t know Greg…” he will be right there with his firm, “You got this.  You can do it.”  And it’s believable! 
Greg running the Detroit Half last fall- that look says it all
            We trained together for Chicago; his church was part of a charitable campaign to bring fresh drinking water to the people of South Africa with money to dig wells.  Remember how I said that after my first marathon I would never do that again?  Well I meant it, until I talked with our friends one evening at their home and Greg told me about this great project.
            For me, to choose to train and run a marathon cannot happen unless I have a set thing: something to fight for, because it’s not like I’m gleaning motivation to win the thing.  My first marathon was completely inspired by my mother; I started training in the early summer, when she was in the final stages of her cancer battle.  My heart told me that I needed to do this, to demonstrate and honor the mother who taught me through example what perseverance in the face of unspeakable pain was, to show her that I learned and that I cherished her and what she fought for. 
            It was a personal thing and when I crossed that finish line I started to cry and I looked up to heaven and was overcome once again with the gratitude for all that I have been given: my mother, the ability to finish, the gift of life and God helping me to live it fully. 
            Then when Greg told me about this incredible project to give back, I threw the “one marathon and done” motto out the window.  Here was a reason again to fight- for something outside myself.  It’s kind of like that circle I keep talking about- as graces and blessings come in to me, God is steering me to scoop them up and push them right back forward, into His loving heart.  To accept everything- the good stuff and the crosses, and to surrender them all to Him.
            And now, for me, I have my reason to fight for marathon number three, my four reasons actually: In thanksgiving to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, to make amends to Him, to adore Him, and for those He has given me to love.   
            I guess I have a point to make with all this, and it is that we are all connected, I kinda think about the Lion King and “the circle of life” except I really don’t have any interest in eating anyone.  I am searching constantly to find out what truth is and I know that there are many different, unique journeys toward our goal of heaven, but for each one the Way is always the same- it is Jesus.  Whether that comes through living your life as a Catholic Christian, or a non-denominational one, we are all in this together, we are all connected.  We share in the failures of this world and in its successes. 
            Well actually, the successes belong to God; the failures are all our own because I can do no good thing without God, the Holy Spirit moving in me, working in me.  I cannot claim anything good for myself. 
            While the title of this blog (a Catholic’s Road) might seem as though I am trying to separate myself from all the other pilgrims on this journey, those dear ones who totally inspire me (as they surely walk the walk), and call my friends, I am not.  I guess in this world, I see my church as being at the bottom of the pile right now, the most politically incorrect organization out there (food for thought, as the devil is out to destroy anything of God).  I just wanted to make my tiny voice heard, to represent myself and my faith as best as this meager, sinful human being can.  That’s it.   
July 4th on Lake Michigan with our best friends, everyone is photo bombing the sunset!

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