"Mommy, why don't you go to church?"
The question did not surprise me. I have almost been waiting for it. For more than six months, Miles and Mark have gone to church on Sunday morning while I run or get things done around the house or participate in a race.
In the beginning, it seemed like a non-issue that I did not attend a service with Mark. It was reasonable for me to say that I couldn't go because I had to fit in a workout that I couldn't do midweek or a long run.
However, as time has passed and Mark's faith flourished, my race schedule dwindling, the distance that was between us — quite literally, in a sense — was growing.
It's not that I didn't want to go. I wanted to want to go but as with anything, such as weight loss or registering for a marathon, it's not enough to want it. There has to be something more that takes you from contemplation to action, and I haven't found that more.
Instead, I have found that more on the road. For five years, I have spent the traditional service times running. Sundays became long run days when I started my half marathon training plan, a beginner version from Hal Higdon, that had the most miles on those days.
Some might be tempted to say that maybe I found my religion in running. For me, though, it diminishes — and unfairly so — what religion means to the faithful. Religion is something bigger, about something outside of us. It's something internal yet existential. Running, though, is so much about me. So physical. It's not a religion. It can't be.
I thought about all of this as I ran today, Mark and Miles at church. In the past, as I justified not going to services, I would say that I didn't need to go to a building — I found God in my surroundings. The trees. The animals. The wind. The sun. I find my peace, at times. At others, I work through my anger, my sorrow, my disappointments. I seek guidance and express gratitude.
Until I'm ready to step through the doors, I wondered, has this place become my church?