Thursday, March 15, 2012

Psalm 61 (2-5)

My bib number was 61 for the Lower Potomac River Marathon.  On my Facebook page the day I posted my bib number, a friend immediately mentioned Psalm 61.  Here are verses 2 through 5 from the New American Bible, Revised Edition:

"Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer!
From the ends of the earth I call;
my heart grows faint.
Raise me up, set me on a rock,
for you are my refuge,
a tower of strength against the foe.
Let me dwell in your tent forever,
take refuge in the shelter of your wings."

First, it is interesting that this should come up now. My bib number for the 11K in Australia was 2161 and I had never blogged about it.  I had actually thought about the fact that the last two digits were the same when I got the bib number.  The 11K was not my best race ever for a variety of reasons, and I ran a 7:23 pace.  On Saturday night last week when I got my bib, I thought about how cool it would be to run the same pace.  I almost achieved that with a 7:25 pace on Sunday.  So, there was some connection that seems like more than pure randomness.

In any case, about the Psalm.  There are lots of times during a marathon when I might want to cry out.  Not like Jesus on the cross, "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?"  Because the marathon--starting and continuing to the end--is my choice.  But, it still hurts.  And there are times when it feels very hard to get my stride.

Listen to my prayer--prayers of thanksgiving (that I can do it), prayers of praise (for God's goodness that I got to see in St. Mary's county), and prayers of intercession (for my health and the health of all my fellow runners).  And, as a Catholic, praying for St. Sebastian's intercession as a go between to God as well.  And looking up to St. Sebastian (and St. Irene's) examples of God's love and the use of God's gifts.

From the ends of the earth I will call--well, in a course that has four out and backs, I'm not sure I'd say I was going to the ends of the earth, but there are a lot of different places I called from.  And, thank goodness my heart did not grow faint, but it was stressed.

"Raise me up, set me on a rock,"--something I might ask for at the bottom of every rolling hill.

The remainder--God is always my refuge.  When I choose to run marathons, I remember that I am using God's gifts for me and as an example for others--from my kids to fellow runners.  God is a tower of strength. There is no foe in a marathon, but needing and using strength is, of course, a key.  When I think of taking refuge in the shelter of your wings, I picture clouds making it slightly overcast after a sunny start. That didn't happen on Saturday and there are many wages to take refuge in the shelter of God.  Taking refuge in God is critical after a run as I celebrate the gifts and give nothing but thanks and praise for all God has done for me.   

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