Monday, October 17, 2016

Persistence, Patience, People

Today, I close out my 2016 fall marathon training season with one last entry about the run.  After I wrote out my long race report yesterday (from which I have heard comments about feeling like people were there, surprise that my running partner tossed her watch, and thanks for my last two paragraphs on running and friendship), I attended mass yesterday and Father Marty gave a homily focusing on the first two words: persistence and patience.

The readings yesterday at mass were about persistent prayer.  Father Marty commented on this in his homily and gave several interpretations.  First, in addition to the importance of persistence, patience is also important.  The two are not identical.  The priest reminded us of how our cell phones have made us expect immediate responses and how that flows over into other aspects of our lives.  If we fail to be patient we then forget that it is important to wait and to stick with things (persistence).  He then linked persistent prayer to living life as prayer.  My interpretation of that is that it is not just about saying prayers at church and repeating them over and over again in an unending chant.  It is about living out one's beliefs all day every day and not just the hour a week at mass while saying prayers.

Patience and persistence and living out one's beliefs are all important for marathon running.  Training takes a while (needing patience).  Training takes sticking with it over many long runs and many other training miles of various sorts (persistence).  The actual marathon run requires patience (one cannot go too fast too soon) and persistence (one has to keep going).

When running with another (as mentioned yesterday) it is an example of living out my beliefs in life--trusting another, being generous with time with another, having faith that everything will work out, and not wasting a step.  (All things related to the Bible verse from my bib number).

Every concept so far works for me in my Catholic beliefs as I listen to a priest but also can work for just about anyone regardless of their belief system as long as they believe in the good intentions of their fellow human beings--and I am willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt until the person has proven otherwise.

Where does people come in?  There were plenty of people in both the Old Testament reading and the Gospel yesterday.  There were plenty of people at the marathon.  But the people I want to focus on in this particular entry are people I train with.  One of the things that training with people over the past six years (since marathon #1) and training more and more with people over the past year has done for me is to make me more ready to run with just about anyone.  It no longer takes months or years to understand, "I can run with this person just being present.  We don't need to talk the whole time."  It no longer takes me months or years to figure out how to challenge a fellow runner enough but not too much.  It no longer takes me months or years to figure out how to encourage someone.  And this has come from running with people again and again.  Just as with anything else in life--running with people requires practice.  The more one practices the better one gets.  That goes for many aspects of running.  Many aspects of life.  And the more I learn to relate to others, the better I can share the part of me that is "sure and steady runner" with those who want to experience that--whether sure and steady is based on pace or emotion or anything else.  

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