Listen to your body... telling you to be quiet.

 Photo by  Mink Mingle  on  Unsplash

Photo by Mink Mingle on Unsplash

Going to adoration so early in the morning really disrupted my schedule. You see, I am a morning person -- I wake up energized, on the first alarm, to-do list in mind. I floss, caffeinate, and organize my emails. Then I slip on my shoes and go for a run, or whatever my training plan says for the day. Then home, shower, eat, pack lunch, and I am out the door.

I can imagine what some of you are thinking -- “Ugh, this girl” -- but I’m not trying to show off. For many years, this morning routine was a compulsion. If I didn’t follow this schedule, on schedule, my whole day was derailed. It took me about six years to realize this was not a healthy habit but a source of additional anxiety, adding to the other stressors I experienced while in college, graduate school, and later full-time working life. I wasn’t disciplined; I was anxious, and there is a difference.

This difference was never more apparent than when I started training for my third marathon. For the first two I was a full-time student, still caught up in my compulsive calendar. This time, I was working 40 hours a week, newly married and committed to attacking my new job the way I attacked research papers. One morning I was walking to work and felt myself growing faint. I stopped and sat down on the sidewalk. The idea of going another another block overwhelmed me.

It took me a few minutes to realize I was sitting on the sidewalk in front of my new church. A few people were walking to their cars after morning Mass, and I could imagine that sitting on the sidewalk was not a good look. Avoiding eye contact, I tried to save face by getting up and ducking into the parish office. Once inside, gamely trying to act like I was supposed to be in the office so early on a Tuesday morning, I opened the first door to my right... and found myself in the adoration chapel.

Jesus sure does have a sense of humor.

I sat down -- were we allowed to sit? Was I supposed to be kneeling? -- and took a breath. And then another. And a third. I stopped feeling so clammy. Everything was still sore, but now I was focusing on something other than my hamstrings. I looked at the Blessed Sacrament and at the crucifix on the wall. I stared at the blood running from Jesus’s wounds for so long I thought I saw Him bleeding. I realized I was tense, and could feel this tension all over.

He gave of His body so you could live.

Was I living?

I was tired. I was drained. Like most people, when one part of my life needs more time, another part needs to give. I upped my mileage in preparation for the marathon so I decreased my rest. It’s normal and logical, but not healthy. Without this rest I was not truly living. Arriving in the office every morning tense leaves no room for me to be more intentional with my actions, my words, or my thoughts. Working with students and staff require more patience than I think I have in me, but I was definitely not doing myself any favors by using up all that patience before 9 a.m. If I couldn’t give of myself in a way that was life giving, like I am called to as a Christian, then who cares whether I was doing mile repeats or answering emails? What good was I doing?

I rested before the Blessed Sacrament for another ten minutes and walked home. I am blessed to work for the kind of institution where I can call it a sick day, no questions asked, and I took advantage of that blessing. And I rested, putting my trust in Him that in one day I would not lose all my running fitness or lose organization of my email inbox. I rested, and was thankful. My body and my soul were quiet. Everything else could wait.

Alexandra is a New Jersey native getting used to running in the heat of Virginia. She's a bit of a Pope Francis fangirl, and wrote her M.A. thesis on the political philosophy in his writings. She currently works as an academic advisor for undergraduate students and in her free time she likes to grade seminar papers and crush Jeopardy categories. Her current goals are to PR at the Philadelphia Marathon, and to PR at number of mornings where she remembers to pray morning prayer.