After Mass this morning I went for a run. There was something ironic about that fact, in and of itself, at least to my mind. The priest who said Mass was a short, heavy Filipino man with a crutch and a cane. He walked as if his left knee had been fused, or maybe his left leg was a prosthetic, and he had a large, heavy gut, and a cheerful, pleasant smile. I watched him laboriously make his way down the steps behind the church from the rectory, and then process down the aisle, step, thump, peg, step, thump, peg, step, thump, peg.
Now I have a chronic case of what my younger brother calls, “Lone Survivor Guilt,” meaning if I see someone else worse off than I am in any way, I immediately feel bad that I have what they do not. I immediately and irrationally felt bad for having two good legs. God is patient with me though, and through the course of the Mass He slowly drew me instead to thankfulness of the courage and determination that made that man climb steps and walk up aisles and do other things that I take completely for granted, to bring me the Holy Sacrifice. To reproach myself for what I feel like I am not doing is to make it all about me. To thank God for what he is doing, is to make it all about God. One leads to depression, selfishness, fear, and lack of confidence. The other leads to peace, joy, gratefulness and trust.
So I went for a run after Mass, as I had planned. I was much slower than I would like to be, and I ran a hot spot into the crease of each big toe, which I am happy for, since I can offer it up for people who don’t have feet! Is it anything on the same or equivalent level to their sufferings? No. It is what God has given me, though.
On the way back I ran past this guy:
The sign painted on the back of his garbage cart caught my eye. When I asked him if I could take a picture of it he smiled at me with a big, peaceful smile, like: “This crazy white guy!”
“Thank you Lord God for the life & grace, the love & peace, the health & strength, THE NAME of Our Lord Jesus.”
Sometimes God gets obvious.
After my run I did some yoga in the hotel gym. There were some other guests there, including one middle aged gentleman trying to get a workout, but his little girl kept running in from the pool to talk to him. She was staring at me like I was the circus!
I can understand that, though. I am big, very hairy, and when I workout I am very sweaty. I am not particularly flexible or coordinated, although not bad for my size. All in all, I look pretty odd doing yoga. When I do yoga in white people gyms I always kick the heavy bag a few times afterwards as a way of forestalling any comments.
This little girl was watching me like saturday morning cartoons and talking with her daddy in Visayas. I imagine the conversation was something like, “Daddy, look at the big sweaty white guy! What is he doing?”
“I don’t know, honey. White people be crazy.”
God bless you all, this fine day. Remember to be grateful.