It was a 5k/10k trail run. The race director reminded the runners to watch out for the sign to indicate the split. I was running the 10k as a recovery run. I just ran a full marathon the week before; so I will just take it easy and not worry about my time.
Indeed I didn’t care about my pace; but I also didn’t pay attention to the sign. At some point in the race, I didn’t see anybody in front of me or behind me. But up ahead I saw what seemed to be a couple of volunteers and they were cheering me on. “Great job!” “You can do it!” And a volunteer with a stopwatch said to me, “Your time - 21 minutes. 2 miles to go!” Then I went to a screeching halt! What? “Yes, sir! You are the first to reach Mile 4.” No way! I'm running a 5 minute per mile pace? Of course I could not!
And then I realized – I missed the sign. I took a wrong turn and got ahead of the leader by 2 miles.
What does it take to see a sign? Two things.
First, you have to be looking and paying attention. Then you have to recognize what it means.
Last week, a good friend of mine lost his wife, Chris after a sudden illness. This week, another family friend lost her husband, Dennis. Dennis was diagnosed of lymphoma last year. When I saw Dennis’s wife at Chris’ funeral, I told myself that I would visit Dennis. But I didn’t follow through. When I learned of his death, I felt bad for putting off visiting him. Looking back, I think Chris’s death was already a sign, but I ignored the meaning.
As a praying runner, I dedicate my runs to those who need prayers, especially to those who are sick. In addition to prayers, I also make an effort to either call them or visit them with the hope of giving them some comfort. Not only I do try to recognize signs, but I also try to be a sign of God’s loving presence.
I feel sorry for not being able to visit Dennis. But I’m taking this event as another sign. I offered my last run to Dennis in prayer and promised myself to try even harder to be a sign of God’s love and mercy to people I pray for, especially to the sick.
If you have any prayer requests, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, post it here, or in my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/prayingrunner. I am running a marathon in Half Moon Bay, CA on September 23 and I shall offer it in prayer for all your special intentions, especially for those who are sick.
(Reflection points taken from a homily by Fr. Michael Todd, O.P.)