FROM THE PRESIDENT'S KITCHEN TABLE
Two of our adult children ran in the Marine Corps Marathon last month. They both finished in respectable time and certainly impressed their mom. I can’t imagine walking 26 miles much less running them. Many marathoners “hit the wall” at about the 20 mile mark. They’ve burned up all the available glycogen and their bodies shift to burning stored fat. It’s a tough transition. Your legs feel like lead, you can be light-headed and nauseated, every step is agony. Our daughter described how hard it was to run across the 14th Street bridge which was about the 20 mile mark. At other places bystanders held signs, waved flags, cheered, and rang bells. “Go, runners, go!” Nobody lined the bridge, the wind was brisk, it was cold. Tara had thrown off her outer shirt and gloves early in the race when she was hot. Now, she wished she’d kept them. She wanted to stop, sit down and give up. But she didn’t. It took her seventeen minutes to run the mile across the bridge, twice as long as those early miles. But she kept lifting her legs, and pounding the pavement. One more step, one more step. And still six miles to go. Those last six were harder than the previous twenty. When people yelled out, “You’re almost there,” she wanted to scream back, “No I’m not.” But she kept going and finished among the top third of women runners.
I’ll never run a marathon, but metaphorically I’ve spent my whole married life running: for my family, for unborn babies, for the Church. Sometimes the race has been easy and a joy – especially when I held a new son or daughter or grandbaby in my arms or a little one saved from the abortionist’s knife. But much of the time the race has been painful and hard. I’ve stumbled a lot and run many miles badly. I know what it feels like to hit the wall. I’m there now wondering if, after eleven years, it’s time to stop publishing the print newsletter and focus more time on my family. St. Augustine’s words keep going around in my head: “It’s better to do great good among few than little good among many.”
Advent is around the corner, a good time for praying and reflecting. My advent goal is to storm heaven about this question. Does the Lord want me to continue the newsletter? A woman I met recently told me I don’t need to choose between my family and this apostolate; I can do both – “like someone on the beach walking with one foot in the water and one on the sand.” It’s a question of balance. An orthodox priest wrote a thoughtful letter expressing his opinion that I often run “outside the path” and show a “recklessness” that endangers my work. It would certainly be an irony to spend more time in Purgatory for doing something I would have preferred not to do in the first place.
Does that sound like whining? Forgive me. What I mean to do is beg for your prayers. St. Paul uses the analogy of a race for life’s journey. The marathon of life is the hardest and longest each of us will run with eternal salvation the prize. Some of the miles are easy. We’re unencumbered and light. Our spirits are up. People cheer us on the way. Then we hit “the wall”. The voice of discouragement says quit. Others pass in the opposite direction telling us it’s shorter that way. They urge us to join them. Quit? Drop out? No! Reverse direction? Yes, if we’re going the wrong way or are off the path.
Please pray for my discernment. I truly want to do God’s will whether that means persevering, discontinuing the newsletter altogether, or changing direction. In any event, Les Femmes will not go away. We’ll keep our website going and will continue to fight for the faith. In the meantime, I plan to keep running the race. Please pray that I’m running it with Jesus.