Monday, January 21, 2013

pity, passion, and pushing myself

Last Tuesday evening was tough....I went to the local running club so that I could have someone to run with, and as I drove to our meeting place, I noticed that the group I usually run with was already on their way (I run with the slow group, as I am nowhere near the place where I can consistently run an 8 minute mile or less).  Since they had left without me, I ended up trying to keep up with the fast group, but I was quickly left in the dust....within a half a mile, I lost them completely. 

As I continued to run, I began to have a bit of a pity party, complete with complaining to God about how awful it was to run alone when I was expecting to run with others, whining that I could have run by myself at home, and then complaining that no one even noticed that I had disappeared.  This continued until I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and fell. 
A picture of my Road Rash the next morning.  Some people need God to use a 2x4 to get our attention, but in my case, an uneven crack in the sidewalk worked just fine!

At that point, I seriously thought about figuratively taking my toys and going home--it was pointless to talk to the running club members if this was what I could expect most Tuesdays.  So, I actually sat in the middle of the sidewalk on Mesa and let myself wallow for a few moments....Really, part of the reason that I want to be a part of the running club is to make new friends, and this clearly wasn't working!!! 

Then, it hit me.  Doing so was a huge disservice to the members of the club, because the slower runners didn't know that I was coming--Tuesday was only my second time attending! It also meant that I was playing the martyr by letting a little discouragement keep me from making connections.  In essence, I was "cutting off my nose to spite my face."  So, first I ran to the pub we visited the week before in the hopes of meeting up with everyone there. When no one was there, I went back to our meeting spot, and I talked to someone. 

In doing so, I was able to meet some of the other runners and to begin developing friendships.  Speaking up doesn't come naturally to me, but I'm glad that I said something.  In pushing myself to do so, I will hopefully be able to develop some friends that have the same passion I do for running, as well as people that can both encourage me and mentor me in my continuing quest to become a better runner.  I will probably never be quick enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but I can work on consistently running a 10 minute mile, and I can learn little tips that I might not think of as a novice runner.

I think that this is one of the reasons that I have been asked by several of the vocations directors of various orders if I had a spiritual director--I'm not sure that we can always figure out how to get ourselves to the next level of spiritual health alone, just as I can't learn how to become a better runner alone.  Rather, I can learn these things, but it will take me longer because I will have to use a lot more trial and error.  I would prefer to not re-invent the wheel!

I also learned that having a pity party really isn't very productive--it demotivates me, and it highlights all of my natural tendencies toward selfishness and navel gazing.  So, I plan to go to the running club again tomorrow, and I suspect that it will go better.  I hope that I can get there early enough that the slow group won't leave without me, and that I can continue to learn about the other members of the club. 

Lastly, I will begin looking for a spiritual director here in the diocese.  I already asked my priest, but he told me that he isn't very good at it--I respect his honesty, and will keep looking.  Will you pray with me about this?