Holy Week Reflection from the Treadmill

CrossTreadmill

I love Holy Week. Our Faith life is so rich and full and the sense of anticipation is great. You may have noticed by now that I have a Love/Hate relationship with my treadmill that is echoed this week as well as in all of my sufferings. It seems fitting that, despite the expectation of Joy, we remember the greatest suffering of the Passion and death of our Lord, and share in that by our sacrifice. Thankfully, the moments of intense discomfort on the treadmill have grown fewer and there are actually moments that the work I am doing isn’t my foremost thought. I am reminded that we are not supposed to suffer always. There are seasons for every purpose under Heaven.

In my own sufferings, my cross is one that will never be gone from my shoulders, and yet, there are moments when I am not ‘suffering’ at all. There are plenty of times in my day-to-day life that I am not thinking of my sorrows or feeling their weight. There are many moments that my inner Joy is more present and I am filled with a sense of Hope. I know there are many reasons for that, not the least of which is tremendous grace, but there is room for both to coexist. They need to coexist. The one is made more powerful by the presence of the other.

The mysteries of the rosary speak to this constant dichotomy of suffering and Joy. Out of twenty mysteries surrounding the Life of our Lord and our Lady, only five of them are sorrowful. We only meditate on them two days out of seven (Tuesdays and Fridays). The church, in her wisdom, sets aside time each year to dig into suffering, but only six weeks out of fifty-two. How appropriate for me that the timing of my toughest dates lead in and coincide with this time in the church. For those who haven’t known suffering of their own yet, meditating on the sorrows of Jesus and Mary can transform us. How can we have hope in Resurrection if we don’t first know death?

I don’t only suffer, but I can speak to it well for having spent some time there; I have really gotten to know death. By Easter Sunday, I will be ready to shake the dust from my feet, put suffering in its place for a while, and rejoice with the greatest Joy that (sometimes here, and always for eternity) I get to know the reprieve from “having suffered.” I will rejoice whole-heartedly in the next season of Resurrection, which fills my soul with untold freedom and joy!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.…” (Ecc 3:1-4)

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Reflections From The Treadmill #7

By Karen Pullano

To read from the beginning of the series click HERE

CrossTreadmill

 

The Finish Line

As you well know by now, if you have been reading along with this series, I often limp across the finish line. I set a goal ahead of time and push myself to persevere and endure and although I always finish, it’s not always pretty. Lately though, I’ve been having a new experience. As I approach that last quarter mile, I don’t feel as though possible death is imminent. In fact, I feel pretty good and to prove it, I bump my speed up and sprint to the end! That looming finish line is just too tempting and it gives me a renewed burst of energy. All my discomforts are forgotten, knowing there will be time to catch my breath really soon, after I finish like a champ. I can hear the crowds already going wild!

In our trials and sufferings, it is important to focus on the goal, even as we are figuring out how to take the next step in front of us. Life here really is a series of deaths and resurrections as we live in this continuum of time and change. Crossing that finish line is like resurrection. For some, there will be an end to a suffering or trial right here on Earth; for others, there will be no true relief until Heaven. In either case, the finish line is divine Union with God, and our sufferings can bring us ever closer to that. Certainly, there is a time to just put one foot in front of the other in obedience, steady as she goes, and let the pain do a work in us. To quote my favorite line from Finding Nemo, in my best sing-song voice, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” We may not see it in the day-to-day struggle, but we are growing stronger and gaining endurance. We are learning our own strength. Then comes the time to pick our heads up, remember what we are about, and dig it out to the big finish with energy, strength, and joy. Resurrection awaits and all of Heaven is cheering wildly.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Cor 9:24-25)

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