Forgive me. Brooks and I are still working out our privacy concerns, but this blog just needed to come out. It is my intention that after you have read it, that you understand my exception to my "last" blog post.
God is present in my life. I pray...never for things, but always for strength. No matter how late I am running, my first thought each day is always to pray: "Please Lord, give me the strength and courage to do what needs to be done today. Please guide me and keep me from screwing up your plan".
My prayer is obvious of two things. One: It's my own vernacular. Two: I believe in fate.
I believe that there is a plan for each of us. Over and over again, my life has been blessed with serendipitous moments that can not be explained by randomness. These are intentional blessings sent to us to teach us and prepare us. The universe gives us hints that we are being guided. A chance meeting of a friend after years absence; seeing that mother with her son before I knew adoption could be an option for us; the ladybug that landed on our adoption application just before I put it in the mailbox; walking into a baby section for the first time EVER two weeks before I found out I was pregnant, after being told my whole life I would never conceive; being asked to "go for a run", which was an absurd notion, just after getting a scary diagnosis for Noah; "seeing" my sister Jeanne in a stranger---always a sign for me that a big change is coming.
That is fate. That is the universe telling me that it's okay. Someone has got my back. I'm on a path, a journey. I'm doing okay.
And, then there is faith. Faith is harder. Faith is knowing that my will and wants may not be what is His will for me. It is knowing that I am but a small cog in the universe and that my tunnel vision can not possibly see what lies in store for me. This is hard. It is giving up control. It goes against every fiber in my being when I want to take action, but often I have to practice patience. It's where I can screw it up.
Then there are times like now. When I face challenges in nearly every aspect of my life. I am at a crossroad with my career, friendships, racing and in my home life. I want to DO, but in many of these areas, I must pause. It is hard for me. I am struggling.
That's when I call in the big guns. St. Jude. St. Jude is the patron saint of hope and impossible causes. He's my miracle worker. Each novena I have prayed in my life has been answered. I credit St. Jude for Noah's very existence, for my beautiful daughter who came to me from half-way around the world, for Mark's coming back to life. I am currently praying a novena, but I can not yet see tangible evidence that my prayer has been answered. I must have faith that it has, but be open to signs that it is answered in God's way, not my own. Again, hard for me.
That is where the worn pair of shoes comes in. I've seen shirts that tritely say that "Running is my therapy". For me, it is more than words on a t-shirt. I believe it. Running is when I feel closest to God. I can cry, scream, and question when I am alone and running. I can also count my blessings, see beauty, be open to my path and be thankful. It is when I can find my strength and courage. I would be lost without it.
This past weekend, I ran a half marathon. Not a big deal for me in distance, but mountainous for me in it's completion. During my previous race, I walked away. I could have completed the distance and challenge, but I just couldn't run through it. I felt weak. Those same feelings haunted me at the start of this race. I felt lonely. The gun went off, and I couldn't have been more disinterested. I hit the second mile and I started to cry. I cried hard, but I kept running. I put my sunglasses on and ran, soon realizing that it is very hard to cry and run while keeping an 8 minute pace. So, I stopped crying, but kept moving, resisting the urge to just walk away. The tears came and went throughout that race, but I kept pushing, haunted intermittently with incredibly negative thoughts. I did not feel like I had strength or courage. Frankly, I was pretty pissed and cranky. Then I started "seeing" things. First, a number on a person's back...then a handmade sign that held a personal meaning for me outside of it's intended message... a silly picture that I associate with one of my struggles, and finally, a soda bottle on the ground with just the right word on it. I stepped away from that race with not just a medal, but with a wee bit of hope that I am on the right path.
I have several decisions to make. I will make them. They are the hard kind, but I am keeping my faith close to me.
My friend Catherine has this wonderful quote that she shared when she delivered my son's commencement speech, and also several times in yoga class. I can hear her voice when I recall it. It's been a mainstay in my head for the past few weeks.
"What will you do with this ONE wild life you've been given?"
Well, Catherine...God only knows.
Thank you St. Jude