"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness"
The question over decades has always been “Where were you when?” and unfortunately associated with ominous events such as space shuttle crashes for NASA, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina or even humorous events such as the Chicago Blizzard from February of this year. 8:00 am on a Saturday chilly autumn morning found me linked arm in arm with fellow seminarians as we walked along Congress to Balbo for the annual AIDS Run/Walk 5 and 10K. Music was pouring out from tents and a sweeping sea of red met my gaze as we came over the bridge.
In my former years during high school and college, for about 5 years total I was involved in track and field teams. Apparently because of my leg length, my track coaches always thought it to be hilarious that I run the 2 mile and I would reluctantly agreed. Although my time was decent, I often found it to be rather boring because it involved running around an indoor or outdoor track.
As we continue this spiritual journey, we struggle with what it means or how to balance our academic life and pressures and putting our ministry into motion; actually bursting the safety bubble of campus life and making a difference in any way, shape or form. At the same time, the beauty of the life that flows through us, powered by the Holy Spirit can only be strengthen by connection again with Creation which is what I found myself doing Saturday morning. Yet I had not run in years and found myself perplexed as I stared at the blue numbered tag marked RUNNER. Oh My.
Caught up in that same sea of bold red as people stretched and prepared my soul leapt as well, excited to be a part of something bigger and as I began my run flanking marathon veterans and trainees, the muscles in my legs questioning my sanity and keeping pace so I would stay warm, I thought of those who suffered in hospitals and clinics, taking thousands and thousands of dollars worth of medicines just to keep them alive and those who sit by bedsides, holding hands, singing, praying, hoping.
40:16. This time was an achievement for me running my first 5K. Through the winding, bumpy roads flanked by the scenic beauty of the lakefront reminded me of my own spiritual journey; even rough at times, flowing smoothly at time I am thankful for the experience and when I faltered, I was reminded of the journey of those afflicted with AIDS-and continued on.