Saturday, January 24, 2009

Discipline and Disciple I

So this 1000 miles for peace idea idea has emerged from my prayer life only recently, right around Christmas. But the seed was planted a while ago, just before Sam was born. I had this idea ( I get lots of big ideas) that I would start training for a Team in Training (TnT) Marathon when he was three months old, loose all this weight, be all healthy and fit, and as an added bonus, I would be contributing to cancer research! How exciting!

Well the rubber ultimately didn't hit the road. I discovered that you have to raise _a lot_ of money; and frankly, I'm not the powerhouse money-raising type. I don't mind asking people for money per se; it's more the endless monotony of asking over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and -you get the picture. Then, if my children were going to join me, I would have to buy plane tickets for the _whole family_ (more $$), and it was unclear whether Sam could join me in the race. And to be perfectly honest - my college athletic career was a long time ago- it would be a long (very long) time for an infant to go without nursing, and that was the dealbreaker. So I shelved the idea, and it surfaced again just before Joshua was born... Maybe I should train for a marathon...

This time though, I started thinking about how I could re-imagine the TnT process, and do my own fundraiser for cancer research. I could honor my mother-in-law who died in 2007 from a relapse of breast cancer; and my godson who is currently winning his battle with childhood leukemia, and so many people I've known and loved that have been in the throes of cancer treatment. Perhaps I could run a local marathon, perhaps I could raise money independently, and I could definitely take the children along... The idea was really cooking; until I talked about it. I told my husband. He said "why don't you try a 10K first"? "Well, running a 10K is part of training for a marathon," I responded. "I just don't want to see you set yourself up for failure," he said. "Why don't you just go to the gym?" (because I hate the gym, it's a stupid waste of money, a scam, and vapid, and [replay endless monologue of previous arguments here]) So I told my brother (brother #3), an avid runner, and marathoner, and one of my athletic mentors. He said, "a marathon? in May?... That's not very..." "Should I train longer and run the Detroit Marathon in October?" I asked. "Yeah, that's a better idea..."

You see, never actually an affirmation that this was a _good_ idea.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A physical and spiritual journey

I am walking and riding 1000 miles for peace in my birthday year February 1, 2009 - January 31, 2010. I am taking my two smallest children (2 years and 2 months) along for the ride, because I want them to have early memories of me as both active, and committed to working for peace.

Over the last 20 + years, I have engaged in a very wide range of activism, and have recently - the last four years or so- become increasingly disillusioned with activism. Disillusioned to the point where I'm just not invested in any of it any more - it all seems full of sound and fury signifying nothing. Or rather accomplishing nothing.

I am fed-up with my pro-life friends that cannot imagine protecting children in the womb as peace-making. I am spent on anti-war friends that consider some killing to be a basic human right. The end of the line was the 2008 election. I was heartbroken to see self-described "progressives" whoop and holler over a man that stands solidly to the right of Richard Milhous Nixon; while so-called "conservatives" circled their tents about a pair of lunatics that are unclear on how to balance a budget, and appear not to be aware of the US Constitution (look at their policies, compare your notes). The very fact of my anger was evidence enough that my peacemaking work was not taking me where I needed to go.

It was in the dark night of this disenchantment that I chose to take a sabbatical from my consulting work, and reevaluate things. This time also coincided with the birth of my fourth child; and the "baby-moon" with a newborn child - if fully embraced for what it is - can be a time of great spiritual/physical/emotional renewal for a woman. So I've spent several months, since September, thinking, meditating, and reflecting on what should be next. 1000 miles for peace is the answer.

It could easily be said that walking/biking 1000 miles over the course of a year accomplishes nothing. In fact, I've thought that. But I am engaging in this as a prayer/ meditation/ mindfulness discipline; I do this because of my deep faith that prayer is the most powerful agent of change. I believe that in the still quiet of this discipline, I will be able connect with the source that unites and restores us; and release that which divides. I don't claim to know what results that will produce - but I expect that kind of a connection to bear some fruit.

I invite anyone who is willing, to join me in any way they are able - accompany me for some of my scheduled walks/rides; pray for my endurance, and my children's patience; contribute to the peace movement; follow along on the blog and smile - however you are able, if this journey speaks to you, know that you are welcome and come along.