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The Race is On!

April 16th, 2013by Joe Ollier

I ran track for one year in high school. Mostly the mile and two mile.  The mile I liked, but the two mile, now that’s a different story.  Something about going around in circles eight times in the same direction—it felt pointless to run all that way just to end up right where I’d started.  And track meets—ugh.  Seems like it was always either freezing and raining or baking hot.  No in between.  I remember sitting in the stands (and sometimes under them) bundled up against the wind and rain trying to do my homework by stadium light.  As if Algebra II wasn’t hard enough already. 

Man running Ever feel like your life is like the two mile race in a track meet?  Like all you do is go round and round in circles without ever really going anywhere?  Your alarm goes off at the same time every day, and you head out to the same school or office to face the same classes or meetings, teachers or management; the same problems, politics, drama, and issues as yesterday.  Even summer vacation, which begins with such promise, can become monotonous after awhile. It’s like all you do is switch from one rut to another.

But every once in a while something happens to shake you out of the same old, same old.  Maybe it’s a moment of real joy and happiness.  Maybe it’s meeting someone new or a trip to someplace you’ve never been, or a much needed date with your spouse.  Maybe it’s a time of loss or tragedy or triumph, or grace.  Maybe it’s the daffodils blooming.

The thing is, for us Christians, that day-to-day monotony we often feel is not supposed to be the norm.  Resurrection and new life are what we’re supposed to expect and experience every day.  Why?  Because every day is brand new. Every day we wake up is a gift.  Every moment is a sacrament – a visible sign of God’s presence in the world.  Sure, we may have the same routines each day, but there is grace in those routines if we look hard enough.  As students we pass hundreds of people in the halls every day – hundreds of chances to make someone’s day with a smile.  Those classes we sit through?  Hourly opportunities to become better, more complete people simply by learning something new.  Seemingly endless meetings?  Chances to practice the virtues of charity and patience.  Band practice, play practice, sports practice? Daily chances to develop a skill we can use to bring joy to ourselves and others while we glorify God. Our time at home with family?  Opportunities to practice unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness. Think about that.  Every single moment of every single day is a brand new opportunity to experience a slice of heaven, if only we make that choice. 

 What if we really understood that reality?  What if we lived each moment as a truly unique and special instant that can never be repeated or re-lived?  What if we saw every single word, action and choice as a chance to become more like Christ? As a chance to see Christ in others and be Christ for others?  As another step toward heaven?  Now that would be a race worth running.

                       

 Photo credit: Used under Creative Commons Licensing, flickr.com/loop_oh 

Joe Ollier

Joe Ollier is the Coordinator of Youth Ministry at Ascension Parish in Kettering where he and his family are. He has 20 years experience in youth ministry and a Masters Degree in Theological Studies from the University of Dayton.