Let me begin by saying this: I’m new to being a runner (actually I’m more of a jogger). My journey to becoming a runner began with a half-baked New Year’s resolution. That promise became the motivation for the nine-week training program for running a 5K. Those nine weeks came and went and roughly 30 workouts and 50 total miles jogged I was ready.
It was early, 6:45 a.m. to be exact, and I left with my friend to make our way to the start line at the Bearathon in Waco, Texas. We pinned our race bibs, watched the half-marathon runners start their race, plugged in our headphones and got ready ourselves. With the sound of the airhorn we were off with 500 people ready to conquer the next 3.1 miles.
The first 12 minutes went smoothly, I was moving at a comfortable pace and all the training seemed to be paying off. My music was blasting through my headphones and the sun was slowly coming up over the horizon. And then it happened. I slowly became tired, the course had some unexpected hills and the music wasn’t as motivating as it was before.
I passed the first water station and found a group of Baylor students cheering and passing out water. It was an immediate boost to my confidence. People where cheering me on! They were supporting me and they didn’t even know who I was! I was reminded that I was doing something big.
While running I couldn’t help but let my mind wander and it was between mile two and three that I realized that our journey as Catholics is somewhat like the 5K race that I was running.
We start out when we’re young full of wonder and innocence. Learning about God, the sacraments and the mysteries of the Catholic church is exciting. We’re excited and bubbling over with His love.
But sooner or later we have to face obstacles in our faith. People can hurt us, we can sin and find ourselves lost. We can find that we’re not as excited as we were before about receiving the Eucharist at Mass. We can find ourselves turned around, stagnant or wanting to quit the journey.
We’re never truly alone. At that moment when I wanted to stop and the water station came into view I was reminded that I was never truly alone. I mean, it’s just water, but it was a reminder of the community that’s not always visible.
We are all a part of the Mystical Body of Christ linked through the Eucharist. I seem to find myself coming back to the fact that we’re all intertwined in our faith. There is not a day in our lives that we are sent out into the world to conquer it ourselves. That’s something that I have to constantly remind myself of. Even though I’m in a transition period in my life, trying to find what my purpose in life is and what my vocation is, I know that I’m not alone in this struggle. I may not be near my college friends but I know that they are praying for me just as I am praying for them. That transcends the distance between us.
The finish line? When I saw it up ahead in the distance I mustered up all of the energy that I had and sprinted. It didn’t matter that I had just spent the better part of a half an hour huffing and puffing to make it there. The end was in sight and it was beautiful. I just hope that at the end of my life, whenever that might be, I can’t wait to spring into the arms of Christ.
At the end of the race, it’s the sweetest reward of them all.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4-7