Tuesday afternoon. I think I may have made a mistake.
On a recent Saturday in June, I told some friends something that I am starting to regret – and it is only Tuesday.
What I said was that I was going to try to complete a half-marathon in October. I may even have said I was “training” for that event.
I am not a runner, and I don’t intend to run 13 miles. I intend to walk much of the way.
To get ready for this event, my wife and I have been going to organized sessions three times a week. The organizers add a few more yards every so often to the distance we all walk or run or do whatever we do in some combination of running and walking.
I am writing down these thoughts on a late Tuesday afternoon, and tonight is another one of those sessions. I am not looking forward to it.
People have formed packs – I guess that’s a fair word to use – with other people of similar abilities and expectations. I haven’t figured out my own abilities or expectations yet, so I haven’t become attached to one of these packs. And since most people do not know me in this crowd, I could just drift away.
But I had to go and tell some friends that I was preparing for a half-marathon. What a dumb thing to do.
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Wednesdy early morning. Maybe it wasn’t a mistake. The exercise session, the one I didn’t want to go to, was difficult, but satisfying. My muscles and bones remember yesterday, but I can honestly say, it feels good.
* * *
Wednesday mid-morning. Time to reflect. I have always thought that any worthwhile long term commitment requires attention and ongoing care. You can’t just say you are going to do something, achieve some goal, attain some end. You have to keep at it, all along the way. I know that — but today I can say that my intellectual awareness has become physical knowledge. I know it in my bones, as they say.
What I know is what the Church has known from its beginnings (and long before that), that a commitment made in public is important, maybe even necessary, for the success of that commitment.
What I know, too, is that Jesus may have accomplished our salvation once for all – but that it takes us day by day to respond.
* * *
There is a very engaging website set up by the U.S. Catholic bishops, www.foryourmarriage.org, which provides prompting in the form of this question: What have you done for your marriage today?
The site is for people married, engaged or seriously dating. There are questions, suggestions, real-life responses to that question. “I gave my wife some space in the morning by taking the kids out and giving her some time for herself” is one of the answers. “I sent my husband a love e-mail” is another.
Also on this website is a blog from Sarah, who recently married Daniel. She writes about the rehearsal, the tension, and other realities. It is “must-see” reading for anyone preparing for marriage.
And of course there is some teaching on commitment: “Commitment is a choice to give up choices. Although this might at first sound limiting, it actually brings great freedom and depth. No longer does the committed person need to weigh which person or way of life will bring more happiness. Once committed, all one’s energy goes into making this commitment work. No longer are other possibilities a distraction. The two major stages of commitment are making the initial commitment and keeping the commitment.”
* * *
Take the time to reflect on what you already know is true, that you need to pay attention to the life you have chosen. No matter what day it is.
You made the choice. You made it in public. Your daily attention will make a difference.
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