Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Ways to Give Through Running

Let's begin with the track workout this evening.  Tonight the group from Charm City Run with which I train had a wonderful track workout.  It was six 800's.  I ran stride for stride with a fellow runner for whom I have the ultimate respect (he's a multiple Boston marathon runner and some of the marathon training group was at the track with us this week) and all my 800's were run at a 6:30 mile pace or better.  The wonderful sense of camaraderie that comes from being among friends with whom you can comfortably run hard and have a group with whom to complete each half mile is wonderful.  The accomplishment of doing what is essentially my first 6 Yasso 800 workout is also quite nice from a personal perspective.

 Now, let's turn to yesterday's Catholic mass Gospel readings.  No, I haven't been making it to daily mass during Lent.  But I am trying to read the readings during Lent.  Yesterday's Gospel was Luke 6:36-38.  I've pasted it below just for reference.  It won't take long to read:

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

Now, let me pull the themes together as I have in my own mind.  Some of the language here is reminiscent of the Lord's Prayer.  The part about not judging, not condemning, and forgiving.  This is very similar to the "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us".  Our priest reminds us almost every week what it means to take this passage or the Lord's Prayer seriously.

As we read on, however, it goes beyond forgiveness.  It says "Give and gifts will be given to you...For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."  This seems like an early version of "you get out of life what you put into it".  

I have put quite a bit into running over the past year and expect to continue to.  I have been thinking of trying to find ways to share the camaraderie and accomplishment not just with my fellow runners but as a guiding principle in my life.  This Christian principle of giving now guides me to run for the first time tomorrow morning with Back on My Feet Baltimore.  This is running with people who need camaraderie and a sense of accomplishment.  If I can manage to share with them and bring those in need to that end, I am happy to do so.  The power of running to lift spirits is amazing.

I'll know after tomorrow morning whether making a commitment to running with this group right now is for me or not.  I'm thinking it is.  This is another example of things that just came together and must have come together for a reason.  After experiencing a lack of new connections for some time, last week I made a new connection that when I mentioned to an old connection led me to be directly introduced to a person in the leadership of the local Back on My Feet group.  After several emails to talk about what type of economic evaluation I might apply to their organization's work, I am also going to see about getting involved.  

My work on this earth has a long way to go.  I am called upon to give.  I don't necessarily expect to receive, but sometimes just receiving a clear sign of others' appreciation is all that is really needed.

It is also somewhat fitting that I am writing this particular entry on a day on which I used an Amazon gift card that came as a gift for my involvement in my church's Sunday school program this year to purchase a book about Eric Liddell--whose running was featured in Chariots of Fire and who led a life as a Christian missionary in China afterwards.  

I am finding my own way of being called by God to combine my talents for the good of many besides myself.    

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