Days after completing the Boston Marathon, I continue to be in awe of the this iconic Boston sports event. First, I am astonished by the generosity and goodwill of so many people who supported the homeless through this initiative. Together, we raised nearly $40,000 through individual donations for Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program https://www.bhchp.org, a top fundraising effort acknowledged by the official sponsor, John Hancock. The prayers and moral support of many friends carried me through each mile of the course.
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Monday, April 18, 2022
The morning is bright, sunny, chilly without yesterday's strong wind.
If my bib# isn't moving fast, pray hard.
If my bib# is moving too fast and away from the course, pray harder.
Pray for my each step of the way.
Sunday, April 17, 2022
Happy Easter, friends. He is Risen, Indeed. I feel hopeful, joyful as Easter Day unfolds. It is quite within the Jesuit Residence. No movements. No sounds. A cup of decaffeinated coffee to wake me up. Lots of fluid intake as I rise to start the day.
Yesterday was still, and the early part of today has that same stillness, but there is a different quality to it today. Yesterday I was a bit anxious to make sure I had all my preparations in place; today is a rest knowing that all that I have done has been the hard part. Today's stillness is one of contentment and comfort.
It is eery how the days mirror the Triduum (Three days of Holy Week.) Yesterday was a day of impatience and restlessness; today is one of surrender. The day of anticipation is here and this is the time of Christ's consoling ministry to take place.
Ignatius said that in the wee hours of the morning when Jesus's mom could not get any sleep, Jesus visited her first before any of the disciples to reassure her that he was okay and he wanted to wipe away her tears and replace them with joy. It is one of the most tender moments in human history.
I expect Jesus will do the same for me. Yesterday, I was fretting that I did not have the training or stamina to do this great feat on Patriots Day - Marathon Monday. Today, I simply want to enjoy what I can of the day. As a realist, I understand I will continue to have pain in my knees as I traverse the 26.2 miles. As a person of faith, I can't wait to see the faces of all the people who stand on the sides of the route to urge on each runner-participant.
I want not to focus upon the pain and hardships I may face, but the encouragement from the crowds - lots of people of goodwill - who are there to urge us forward. They will carry us when we don't think we can put one foot in front of the other.
I want to focus on the scores of people who donated to the homeless and on my behalf in a gesture of affection and care that their priest and friend is taking on a Herculean task for the greater good. As a society, it is time to move past our individual concerns to focus upon the greater good, the common good, as a way to find meaning and fulfillment in life. When we live for others, lives takes on greater meaning.
I am astounded by the goodness I have been experiencing. I recall being worried I could not raise funds to cover the initial $10,000 and here we are on the cusp of raising $30,000 all for our concern that the homeless need the dignity of professional healthcare. I am grateful.
Easter Day is real. Marathon Monday is tomorrow. I'm glad I get to celebrate each day in its fullness. Please know of my prayers for you tomorrow. As I take my first step or my 50,000th step, I know that I am not alone for you are there in my prayers and the Risen Lord will be there. This will be like the Emmaus journey when companions are traveling the road together in their despair and they will unexpectedly encounter Jesus in their midst. At the end of the day, we will praise God's fidelity to us, and we will share Christ's joy.
Friday, April 15, 2022
Today is Good Friday and though it retains its solemnity, I ushered it in with more celebration than I am accustomed. After a prayerful beginning, I signed into the Boston Athletic Association at Hynes Auditorium to pick up my bib. The line to enter was long but the pace of entry was quite quick. It was an international gathering with people from Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Columbia, and I was next to a woman from the South Shore. She is a doctor and we laughed about everything as we marveled at the smooth operations and the excitement of the gathering. It turns out that we are only a few numbers apart in our bib numbers.
People were telling their stories, some quite incredible, some quite noble. The marathon pulled together a community of goodwill, runners from across the country and world to enter one of the most prestigious races in the world. The volunteers were cheerful and ready to help with any question. The spirit was one of celebration.
As I entered the Expo, I noticed a wall that listed the names of each participant. It was like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that listed the names on a lengthy wall. I found my name near the center bottom and took a few photos. The Expo booths offered massages, photo ops, shoes and shoe products, attire, and all sorts of exercise equipment. I didn't stay that long because I had to get down to Fenway Park to take in the Opening Day of the Red Sox.
I met Linda from Boston Healthcare for the Homeless and Jane formerly from Eastern Bank and we were escorted up the elevator through the VIP section to John Hancock Suite 3. We had seats overlooking first base and an indoor suite stocked with plentiful food, snacks, and drinks. I made sure not to have any meat products and I kept hydrated.
The suite was for people who raised a certain amount of money for charities. The runners were quite interesting people. One man worked at Massachusetts General Hospital for years, another was a social worker from Lahey Clinic, and one man was a bit nervous because this was the second time he was running, but his first time was twenty-six years ago.
The game was in honor of Jackie Robinson who had his number retired across Major League Baseball. All the players wore #42 and no one will every wear 42 again. Mo Vaughn who last wore the number for the Red Sox threw out the first pitch. The game itself was without energy and the Red Sox lost 8-4. We left after the sixth inning because the Red Sox were not hitting and we wanted to see the some of the Expo.
We walked down to the finish line, but I did not cross it. I walked around it so I can finish it fresh on Monday. I am going to be exhausted. The conversations with people were fascinating. I wore my clerics and religious people would wish me a Good Friday. I also wore a Washington Senators classic jacket so others were intrigued with Major League Baseball history. I wore my blue fedora, which received a lot of comments. All these conversations were full of joy.
It was certainly a Good Friday, and I was home in time for services.
Now, online I have received $28,581 in contributions, and I sent a few checks to the charity last week, which should bring the total over $29,000. My goal is to reach $30,000.
Thursday, April 14, 2022
The Marathon is days away. Am I ready? Is anyone ever ready? I think of those dark nights back in January when I would run laps inside the gymnasium. I had a goal in mind, and those goals shifted as the laps increased, and then they shifted when running became difficult.
Now, the spectre or 26.2 miles is on the horizon. I break it down in terms of numbers so my head can get a grip on the distance, but my body might have different thoughts. I want to do well. I want to do my best. I have excitement, nervousness, and a myriad of other feelings. However, now I am just focused on getting to the day and doing what I can.
It is a blessing to happen on Easter Monday when I will have a sense of being carried, but it might feel more like Good Friday than an Easter Day. The weather is cooperating. Much in life is cooperating. The temperatures will be around 55 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. My dermatologist will be happy.
I'll take these next few days to focus my energy and get my head around what I am about to do.
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Monday, April 4, 2022
There are two weeks left until the marathon. I'm excited with some mild anxiety. I have no idea how my body will respond to this grand feat, but it will be good to have the date come closer. I had a good run today. It started out fairly warm and pleasant and then I turned the corner at Dorchester Harbor and I met a fierce wind that seemed to push back at me. I felt like I was being held down, but I pushed forward and made a good run. Something that seemed so difficult a month ago is now fairly easy.
During the marathon, I wonder about chaffing, what is best to wear to prevent chaffing, whether I will get blisters or nails pressing into my toes, if I will get sunburned, and other such questions. I seem to maintain a good pace for the run and I'm not tired or winded when I finish, but I have not done this before and I haven't learned necessary lessons, and yet, I still look forward to it.
Now, for my good news. I was invited by John Hancock, the official sponsor of the marathon, to their private suite at Fenway Park for Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox because they are recognizing me as one of their top fundraisers. What a hoot. It happens to be on Good Friday, but I will go to an evening service of veneration. I have to remind myself that I am bringing news of the care for the homeless to the consciousness of the sponsors.
Click on this link to the online donation form. You will see two big red buttons with the word "Donate" on them. Click on the link and follow the easy instructions. This will add your total to my fundraising page and it will generate a tax donation form for you.