Today was a day on which I didn’t run. That is okay. I ran 24.2 miles yesterday and I am going to put in a few more tomorrow as I pursue my next marathon. And yesterday’s run was a reminder of muscle memory. Memory from before—I can run 24 miles and I can run the last few miles quickly.
I experienced muscle memory also when I got home from church today. I picked up my bass and my acoustic electric guitar for the first time in ages. Played the base line from a song that was played a church today. Played the guitar version of the Our Father that was played at Penn State years ago. Neither was perfect. Both brought comfort. Just like running does. I love to do all three. On most days of the week I have only time for one. And in the near future, I will have only room for one on a regular basis except or 10 minutes here or there as I move ahead.
The muscle memory is what helps me to focus on things that I know well how to do. The comfort is worth a bit more comment on.
In the homily at mass today, Fr. Sam talked about what happens when we come together at church and come to the altar to celebrate Eucharist. He mentioned that each of us is called upon to live out a life that is consistent with our faith but that it helps to come together with others on a regular basis.
I come together with others frequently to run. Each person who runs with me shares my passion for running and sharing and presence. And while that is not the definition of faith, it is the definition of way to live. Coming together on a regular basis with those who share in your way to live to complete a ritualistic action gives me comfort. The running is the easy part. That is all muscle memory at this point. The sharing and the presence are new each week. Sports. Learning. Life.
What does the music do? It also calms. And while I was not playing music with people tonight, the music reminds me of being with people. The music reminds me of sharing. The music reminds me of giving. The music reminds me of presence.
My running and my spiritual life are thus very closely related. They are both about presence. Presence for others. And before I can give presence to others, I must be present for myself.
And as I do things to use memories of the past while also focusing on the future, but most of all increasing my presence in the present I can be a better person for all those around me.