27 Jul Why Run?
Why exactly am I running a marathon? I ran track in high school. I was a half-mile runner primarily. I was never too fond of running distances. Over the years, I have tried many times (and failed most of them) to get back into running. Several years ago, I started running with a friend of mine who was training to run his first marathon. It still didn’t see myself ever doing that, but it did at least get me thinking. Over the last five years or so, the idea of running a marathon has slowly morphed into an actual goal. Not unlike all the times I’ve tried to get back into running, I always have an excuse in my mind as to why this or that time was not the right time.
So, what changed? I think it boiled down to the question of why I really wanted to run a marathon in the first place. Was it merely to accomplish a goal? Was it merely to be able to say, “look what I did?” Was it simply so I can put one of those “26.2” stickers on the back of my car (which I WILL do, by the way)? In the Orthodox Church, we often talk about seeing everything we do as a way to glorify God. How could I glorify God while running a marathon?
Well, this year’s “itch” to run is coinciding with an expansion project at St. Gregory of Nyssa Orthodox Church in Columbus. This is the parish I have been serving for nearly three years now. The parish has created a nice footprint in its surrounding community, offering an ever-expanding outreach program. After ten plus years, we offer a Tuesday lunch, a Thursday dinner, a Saturday lunch and occasionally a meal after Sunday Liturgy as well as an ongoing food pantry, and a resource for clothes, personal items, etc. for those in need. We have been blessed with a growing parish—a parish where people are discovering the Orthodox Church and all that she has to offer. Because of the blessings we have received, we have found ourselves in the position where we have to expand, to meet the needs of a growing parish, but also to be able to continue to better serve the needs of our surrounding community. Throughout the expansion, we have always emphasized that this isn’t just about expanding our space, but expanding the scope of our ministry. If this project is just about the physical walls of the Church and not about the spiritual lives of the people we serve, than what is the point? In other words, we consider our expansion project to be something we are doing for the glory of God and the building up of His Church.
So, I am trying to raise some funds to assist us in this endeavor. I am hopeful to gain pledges for my run, in the hopes that this will assist us, even if it’s just in a small way, in the work we are trying to accomplish. If you can help, it will be greatly appreciated.
Beyond running for our parish, I am running in memory of my mother, Jeannette Moriak, who fell asleep in the Lord over 17 years ago. She has continued to be a large part of my life in all aspects, so it’s only natural to me that she be a part of this. When I ran in high school, my mother did whatever she thought she could to help me. She would talk to my coaches about diet and things I should be eating. More than anything else, she was a source of support. I had a superstition before a big race at a big meet: I would have to find my mom in the stands and just take a quick glance at her. I don’t know why, but it would always calm my nerves knowing she was there. I guess it’s the bond between a mother and her child. As I’ve been running long distances as part of my training, I still look up, not to the stands, but to the heavens. I know I won’t see her, but I know she’s there, and that’s good enough for me.
My pledge (besides a pledge to FINISH the marathon) is to make my run a run of prayer. We often lament that we wish we had more time to pray. I’m going to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 hours and I intend to make the most of that time. As I run in my mother’s memory, please let me know if there is a prayer request you have—be it for someone whom you have lost, or someone who is in need of prayers. I will remember them all as I run. Thanks for your support and most of all, for your prayers!