Saturday, January 29, 2011

On the Road to Marathon and Damascus

Dead legs is a condition where despite all the will in the world your legs won’t run; the turnover rate is at a virtual standstill. In a Marathon it is the infamous Wall. During prolonged exertion mental fatigue erodes focus, fuel stores are depleted and lactic acid builds up; resulting in the seizing of the muscles. The demanding nature of endurance events are that ultimately they overwhelm the body’s ability to recover from the ongoing workload and are so taxing that cognition becomes compromised resulting in confusion and poor form. This is precisely the point of your epiphany. When you have spent all that you have and continue to endure the hardship and continue the course.

If such adventures are not approached with a serious plan and if you foolishly get over zealous you will come up short. To use an example from the Bible if like the Foolish Virgins, set out too quickly or attempt to tackle too much you will run out of oil. Train too little and take your preparation too lightly and you come up short; overtrain and you get injured. On race day, should you abandon your plan, and let your emotions run the race, you will hit the Wall guaranteed.

Our spiritual journey which begins with our soul and engages our body requires the same plan discipline and effort. It is good spiritually to make pilgrimages to the monasteries if we can and to read Patristic writings but to attempt to artificially induce or replicate their lifestyle is prideful, unrealistic and destined to bring failure. There is no hocus pocus remedy to running a Marathon or becoming perfected spiritually as it were. There are natural limits precisely because it is a natural process. There is a road map and regime for spiritual awakening also. Even when addressing Paul’s Damascus moment we must remember he did not just head back out and preach Christ Crucified. Even then we must further consider that Paul was no ordinary man he was an Olympian of his faith and was simply doing a course correction. He had already been purified but now was being illuminated.

The Ten Virgins are a great example of this point: all ten were chaste; committed; training and seeking; but the Foolish Virgins didn’t choose the plan that would keep their oil burning long enough. It is not clear whether they trained too little or ran out too quickly on race day as it were. Additionally The Wise could not simply give their own share; it is understood this is a journey we do as individuals. We can train together, we can enter an event together and run the same course but we must each find out way. If through misguided zeal you set out too fast and don’t pace yourself with the Holy Spirit  Who knows what you can do and in what time; you will burn out and get dejected. At the beginning and even in the middle of your event you will have a false sense of accomplishment and confidence only to hit the wall at mile 20 or 22 and lose what you thought you gained and more. Learn well the road to Damascus is very much like the road to Marathon.

No comments: