This post was inspired by a book I read daily, called 365 Saints by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker. Although, the author’s message about St. Patrick couldn’t be more different than mine, I thought it was important to note, what got me thinking about this.
St. Patrick’s Day for many of us, including myself, has had multiple meanings through the years. When I was little girl, it was all about leprechauns, wearing green so you didn’t get pinched, and making crafts. In my twenties, it was about going out to bars, drinking green beer–basically an excuse for me to go out, have fun and, well, get drunk.
In my thirties I was busy raising very small children, just starting to run again, and St. Patrick’s Day became one of my favorite holidays to dress up in a kilt and run a race. My forties have become a time of inner reflexion and exploring, and how I can grow as a human being. I love to teach my children the true meaning behind all of our holidays — most of which center around Christian faith. St. Patrick’s Day is no different.
If you don’t know the story of St. Patrick, let me tell you my understanding of his life. St. Patrick was born in somewhere in Britain in 380 AD and raised by Christian parents. Sadly, he was kidnapped, brought to Ireland, and forced into slavery. He never lost his faith, and six years later he escaped. He arrived back in Britain and lived a quiet life centered around his deep faith. He went to France to study religion and in the year 432, he became a priest and then a bishop. As a bishop he returned to Ireland on a mission to convert the Druids to Christianity. A task that was overwhelmingly challenging and most likely tested his faith many times. He died on March 17, 461 AD.
As you go out on your run today, think of how St. Patrick (a real person, just like you and me) set out on his journey to Ireland. How he faced brutal objection trying to convert the Druids, and how he must have felt like giving up on several occasions. Imagine for a moment how difficult the task of changing someones deep seeded beliefs would have been.
Have you ever felt like giving up on a run? Or giving up running all together? You set out with the best of intentions and then after a few miles, you begin to struggle, and doubt yourself? How many times have you asked yourself, “why am I doing this?” I am confident St. Patrick must have asked himself the same thing. He’s a tangible symbol of perseverance and faith in the unknown.
Today channel the energy and spirit of St. Patrick — ask him for the guidance, and faith to get through those tough moments on your run, or in your training cycle. It wasn’t easy for St. Patrick. He was kidnapped, put into slavery and had to escape, but he never lost his faith, and, in fact, he came out of his experience with an even stronger belief in himself. He returned to the place that probably held a lot of horrible memories, and made it his mission to teach people the meaning of unwavering faith. When one method didn’t work, he kept trying and attempted a new way. The same could be true about our running– are you stuck in a rut? Instead of giving up, try something different.
Although we may never have to attempt something as difficult as what St. Patrick faced, we do have challenges in our life. Instead of just celebrating another year of going out to the pub and drinking green beer, I ask you to take a moment and use the spirit of St. Patrick to help renew your faith in yourself, in your running, in your training cycle, or whatever challenges you face right now in your life.
What challenges do you face right now in your running, or in your life?
Have you ever felt like giving up on a dream?