It’s Friday! How ‘bout we have a little chat?
Running is easy for me to talk about – very little introspection required. Marathon recovery has gone well, and the Oktoberfest 10K is now only nine days away. After a nine-miler on Monday, I sat on my duff for three days because of rain, but my 4.6 mile Minster loop this morning was at a good pace. The last time I weighed in, I topped out at 223 lbs heading out the door for a run, so as long as I don’t come down with a stomach flu this week, I should be well-positioned to place in the 220+ weight category.
Why didn’t I just run circles at the Y on those rainy mornings? Well, I thought I could be helpful at home. Around this time last year, Erin was in the hospital for a week with pneumonia. She started showing respiratory symptoms last week, so Amy took her in to see our pediatrician. Now Erin has to receive breathing treatments with a nebulizer every morning and evening. In addition, the doctor was unhappy with Erin’s weight, so we have to severely limit some of her favorite foods – ramen noodles and queso with chips. I don’t know how helpful I’ve been these past few mornings. I almost feel more like I’m in the way.
The diet change and breathing treatments have made life with Erin a little more difficult when added to Jamie’s bedtime anxieties (she cries and says she’s afraid when it’s time for bed, so we’ve had to stay in the room for as long as 30 minutes until she falls asleep). I can only imagine how the pediatrician will react the next time she sees Michael, our 50 lb two-year-old who’s out-growing his size 4 clothes. We accept these things and recognize the need to adapt, but that doesn’t mean that, on an emotional level, we remain in balance. The constant noise of a screaming child has an effect on my psyche that is not unlike that of fingernails on a chalkboard, and that inevitably bubbles to the surface through my harsh words and actions.
Did I mention that my forty-year-old wife is pregnant with our eighth child? I’ve been changing diapers for eighteen years. What’s another three? Life with a pregnant woman is always fun. (That’s sarcasm, by the way.)
Speaking of Oktoberfest, which I was three paragraphs ago, my service schedule has changed a bit from past years. Two of the shifts that I’ve worked for years for my Knights of Columbus council have been filled by other members, with the only remaining shifts occurring at times not suitable for my state (e.g., coincident with the Saturday evening mass or the Sunday parade). So maybe this year I’ll actually have a chance to enjoy “ein bier” and listen to some oom-pah music with the kids at the gazebo.
I shouldn’t let this little chat pass without some modicum of introspection, so here it is. My spiritual life is a mess. It has been for a while. An incident with our parish staff last year has left me skeptical of any parish-level initiative and reluctant to participate. Most Sundays find me attending mass at a neighboring parish rather than at the church just two blocks from my home. I still read along with the Lectionary, and I usually pray the Rosary while I run, but I rarely pray the Liturgy of the Hours now, and I can’t remember the last time I went to a holy hour. The discipline that I hoped I would learn by training for the marathon hasn’t manifested itself in the rest of my life. I know that I need to go to confession, but I just can’t seem to summon a suitable degree of contrition from my spiritual ennui.
If that doesn’t cheer you up, I don’t know what will! Maybe riots in the Mideast or the collapse of Spain and Greece? Oh, right. Well, at least we’ve got the upcoming elections!