Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reflections on Dad

I've had some rumblings of post ideas in my mind for several weeks, yet I have not really been able to piece anything together worthy of publishing.  Not sure that this will qualify either, but it is what it is.

The new year has started in full swing.  I have so very much to be thankful for and so many blessings in my life and still, I am sidelined at times by such sadness.

About 2 weeks ago, as I was driving the kids to our weekly co-op classes, I noticed a marquee on a local business that said, very simply, "Call your Dad".

This business is a storage facility that happens to profess their Christianity rather boldly on their sign, and I am always captured at how random the message appears to be, yet, dead on what I need to hear.

Since just before Christmas, my dad has not been well.  He is a typical guy that is stubborn and hard-headed, and one of those that has never been sick or in a hospital.  Apparently all of that changed a few weeks ago when he asked my step-mom to call 911.  He was in terrible pain and could not walk.  Turns out he had fractured a vertebrae in his lumbar region and required surgery to repair it.
He is still not well, but he is at home recovering.  I have been making a point to "call my dad" more often.

Several friends of mine have had bad news with regards to their dads.  One friend lost her dad last Saturday, rather unexpectedly.  Another friend lost his dad this week.  It wasn't unexpected, but nevertheless, very sad. 
And again, another friend is now dealing with the illness of his father and preparing to walk the journey to his final resting place with him.

Coincidence that I read, "Call your Dad"?  Probably not.  The message is an earthly one, but ultimately, it is a Heavenly one as well.  We must call on Our Father more.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Embracing the Broken

I have a few posts for the old blog sitting in the "waiting to be published" category, yet training and life in general seems to be taking the majority of my time and brain power.  Forming complete sentences is a challenge to me lately as I juggle things to get every thing in.

Yesterday a friend of mine asked if I had read a book that she suggested to me two weeks ago.  I, very seriously, blurted out, "I won't have time to read til May".  When I realized what I said, I felt ridiculous.  How is it possible that I don't have time to read until May?

This is a season in my life where reading is put on hold, unless it has to do with homeschooling, faith, or training.  I have also put organizing closets, home decorating/maintenance, and gardening on the back burner until May.

As training intensifies for IMTX, my desire for other outside interests has to rest.  I am still busy with many other things in my daily life; church commitments, the kids activities, homeschooling, college searching for one child, wedding preparations for another, keeping tabs on aging parents, and trying to be the best mom and wife I can be in the process.

With God's help, I pray that I can do all of these things with some amount of grace, but I often feel like I am failing.  I didn't get ALL of my workouts in.  We didn't get ALL of our schoolwork done. I haven't figured out ALL of the details to various situations we are navigating as a family right now,  I haven't returned EVERY email and phone call I received today.  These weigh heavily on my mind.  I pride myself in being able to handle many things at a time.  Pride.  My root sin.  And therein lies the challenge.

Am I going to allow myself to be imperfect?  I know that I am far from any aspect of perfection that exists, but somewhere, in the depths of my soul, I yearn for perfection, "Be Holy, as your Father is Holy".  In order to become Holy, I must become broken.  Truthfully, I must accept my broken-ness.

As I journey this new adventure in training for such a challenging race, I am trying to align the difficulties that I find along the way, especially, the mental game that I play with myself, with my spiritual life.

My path to God is cluttered with self-doubt, self-indulgence, self-hate, self-love, and the list goes on.  These things are what keep me from Him and from what He has for me.  These same things keep me from executing my training as I should at times as well.  As I face my interior demons, I realize that mastery over them will not only get me, hopefully to the start line on May 18th, but perhaps lead me also to a deeper understanding of just how much God loves me, imperfections and all. 

This week, one of my reflections which was addressing "The Predominant Fault" stated,
 As you make progress against your main fault, you will find your other faults easier to control.  Once you are the master of your heart, you will be the master of your life. 

Note the lowercase 'm' on the term master.  God is God, and I am not Him.

Another reflection from the same text I have been using stated,

My Child, there is one thing that stops many from making spiritual progress and keeps them from improving themselves.  It is a fear of the difficulties or of the work required by their effort.  The people who rise highest to holiness are those who are brave enough to fight against whatever holds them back from Me, no matter how hard or disagreeable the effort may be.  

This passage can be taken by all, Christians, non-Christians, agnostics, and unbelievers, if one replaces three words...spiritual, holiness, and Me.  Insert your aim, your personal goal, your struggle to become that best-version-of-yourself for whatever motivates you.

In my case, my holiness, that is my path to Christ, is my ultimate finish line.  To take this simple yet profound passage and apply it to my training (as silly as that seems as I type this), only reinforces to me that how I live my daily life, how I execute that which I am called to do, will yield a result directly related to my commitment and effort. 

After I read this reflection, I had a deeper understanding as to how important it is for me to accept my broken-ness, my humanity, and embrace it. Once I can do this, I can master my heart and master my life, which for me means that I turn myself over completely to Him.

Today, I am striving to continue my quest as an athlete and as a follower of Christ and when difficulties arise,  I will continue to pursue relentless forward progress.


**  Reflections come from My Daily Bread, a book of reflections written by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood.  You can read a pdf version here, or you can purchase a copy here.