I've written about Eric Liddell before. One of his best know quotes is something to the effect of "God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure." I have written before that I completely appreciate his linking his spirituality and his running. I have written before that I have felt Gods pleasure when I run. God's pleasure with the scenery. God's pleasure with running with others. But this morning, I felt God's pleasure that I was proclaiming what really meant something to me and how I can carry this into the rest of my life.
This morning, with my student and track workout buddy, Diarmuid, I did a workout that I can attribute to one of the coaches from Charm City Run. At least the distances and the sequence. Not the timing. Last time I did this with the CCR coach, I ran it at a much more subdued pace 11 days before a race. Today there was very little subdued 12 days before a race. The workout was 200/400/800/3x1600/800/400/200. For non-runners, that's a half lap, a whole lap, two laps, three 4 lap intervals, and then back down again. Runners do intervals hard and then either jog or walk in between. When we got done the next to last intervall (the 400) in a time faster than any 400 I'd run in a long time, Diarmuid said it felt like a proper 400 (just under 76 seconds). I decided to push the last 200 (half lap) even harder. We made a comment about Michael Johnson before we ran. We went. When we got done, Diarmuid said he could not catch me, I felt like the 200 was a "proper" 200, and we had run it in less than 33 seconds. In fact, that was the first time I had run a half lap around an outdoor track in less than 35 seconds in more than 20 years. I felt God's pleasure.
Why? Because my comment about a proper 200 was reflective of giving it everything I had. Such a short run, but I felt every step. For the lasst 20 meters, my legs felt like it would never end, even though the entire interval was just 1/2 lap. I felt like I had--for one brief half minute--given absolutely my all.
That, following from the reading and homily at Sunday's mass and my blog yesterday, is that God wants. That was not a "mumbled" half lap. That was a shouted and proclaimed half lap. That was a half lap I'll remember. That said, "Yes, I can."
I'm pretty sure God was pleased. And I am pretty sure that God would be even more pleased if I took everything I did just as seriously. Again, it comes back to choosing to do somewhat fewer things really well and leaving behing the mumbled (rather than proclaimed) items in my life. Maybe that is the main reflection of this Lent. What am I just mumbling? How can I set that aside? And how can I take on what I am proclaiming in an even more substantive way than I am now?