Tag Archive | Church

Something’s Wrong

It’s particularly disconcerting to see a homeless man digging through the trash can in front of your church.

So many questions.  So few good answers.

16: Daydreaming

After last week’s demoralizing 20 miler, I didn’t run at all this week. It started out as a couple of extra rest days and turned into a pity party/excuse fest. Even though I had no motivation, I knew I couldn’t skip my Saturday long run, especially only two weeks out from the race. I wasn’t sure how the week off would affect this run. Would I have the endurance to run it all? Would my pace bottom out? Would the rest have helped?

What was my brain going to do today? Would I overthink everything and paralyze myself again? Would I beat myself up? Would I be wracked by self-doubt and anxiety?

So I decided to just run. Run without looking at my watch. Run without thinking about running or racing.

Just run.

I daydreamed and let my mind wander as my body went on and did its thing. I wrote a couple of blogs in my head: one about the church and politics, the other about softball and sexism. I also picked out my imaginary Halloween costume for an imaginary date to an imaginary Halloween party with a very real person. I spent about three miles through Buckhead fantasizing about how that would play out and what ethical delimmas could arise. Good imaginary times. Good imaginary times.

Those daydreaming miles passed effortlessly. I had moments when I looked around and thought, “How did I get here already?”

That’s what I like best about long runs. They’ve always served as a reboot for my brain. They’ve been two, three, four hours alone with no noisy interruptions when I can think and compose and sightsee and stargaze and daydream.

Sometimes when I get home from a long run, I think back on things that happened and things I thought about during it, and it seems just like waking up in the morning and remembering a dream. I think somehow those things must be stored in the same part of the brain. I suspect that long runs have something in common with REM sleep.

The 16 miles ended. I pushed the stop button on my watch and I had run the 16 miles in 2:52:21. That’s a super pace for me at that distance – 10:46.

As I did my cool down walk, I thought about how I always judge myself as good or bad based on the outcome of the things I do. I never allow for any grey area. That’s ironic, because I give everybody else prodigious grey area – often more than they deserve, and often to my own detriment.

I need to remember that a bad run doesn’t make me a bad person. A bad day doesn’t make me a bad person. Even doing a bad thing doesn’t make me a bad person.

And I need to remember that I’m the only one who cares if I break 5 hours in this marathon. My family will still love me. My church won’t burn down. The Earth’s spin will not screech to a halt. They even won’t stop producing Diet Mountain Dew or Pop Tarts.

Even Jesus had a bad day, got pissed at a fig tree and dried that bitch right up. Last I read, he was still a pretty stand up guy.
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16 miles
2:52:21
156 avg heart rate
10:46 avg pace

Splits

  1. 10:24
  2. 10:57
  3. 10:50
  4. 10:53
  5. 11:19
  6. 10:44
  7. 10:35
  8. 10:44
  9. 11:22
  10. 10:21
  11. 11:17
  12. 10:56
  13. 10:43
  14. 10:54
  15. 10:38
  16. 9:44

Total weekly miles: 16

Compare to Last Week

Weeks to Savannah Rock n’ Roll Marathon: 2

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can…

The Mustard Seed and the Wrestling Angel

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I struggled with sadness and shame and depression for the last year. But I have come out on the other side with a deep desire to discover who I am and who I’m meant to be. A big piece of what I’ve discovered is that I’m unhappy in my current profession. And I feel called by God to help others through their times of darkness and help them to know there is hope and help them feel loved and accepted in this mean and confusing world. Initially I felt this meant I was supposed to go back to theology school to get my M.Div. and go into a ministry like counseling or hospital chaplaincy.

But I also realize that to help others, I need to feel fulfilled as well. I’m not excited about the prospect of three years of school and the ordination process. I worked with our homeless ministry yesterday morning at church and came home feeling exactly the way I’d like my work to make me feel. I felt I was helping others. I felt I was making a difference. But I know there’s a difference between four hours in a church basement and a full-time job.

So now I’m wondering, does it make more sense to keep my fairly well-paying job and find my fulfillment in other ways outside my job? Still, that’s 40 hours a week feeling dissatisfied. Do I spend $100,000 to go to school and spend four years preparing for new career where I might feel like I’m doing more to help the world?

We talked about the parable of the mustard seed in Sunday School this morning from Matthew 13:31-32. One of the takeaways is that great things can grow from something small and become a place where “the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Can my volunteer work be a place where something strong and welcoming grows, where I can help others and I find my satisfaction?

Our sermon this morning was from Genesis 32:22-31 where Jacob wrestles with the angel. They wrestle all night and finally the angel says, “Enough all ready! It’s morning. Let me go!” and Jacob replies that he will not stop fighting until the angel blesses him. The lesson was about how our struggles can heal us and how turning away from them can keep us from reaching our full potential and from becoming our whole authentic selves – from being blessed. I thought to myself, “Well, should I wrestle with this long process of school and ordination so I can find my blessing?”

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Maybe this search for vocation and healing in and of itself is my wrestling match. Or maybe I’m meant to go back to school and that’s the fight. I might only know the answer if I apply for theology school and see if God blesses the struggle with a big scholarship! Still looking for the answers.