Oct 09

On Sunday I ran a 10-mile race in the Cities. I survived. Admittedly there were times I struggled, especially around mile eight. It is a race from Minneapolis to St. Paul and the streets are filled with supportive people holding signs. Some are funny, like “Is a free banana really worth this?” and “worst parade ever” and “smile, remember you paid for this.” But at mile eight I got the sign I needed to finish the race. It read, “Remember, you can do hard things.”

Right now I have dear friends whose children are battling cancer. Their children are my age and younger. They cannot run right now, but they keep moving forward, through chemo and surgeries. I work with people and their families in hospice care. There are people overcoming strokes, dealing with the sudden loss of loved ones, or just struggling to figure out life right now. I kept running for them. I kept running for my friends, the caregivers, who are also doing hard things. We do not know what to say or how to help, but we pray.

An amazing priest, Father Goyo, posted this week, “I saw my mom taking care of my father for 7 years while he was in bed totally defenseless. She never lost her smile, but I saw her sighing many times. I know she was tired often. I pray today for caregivers. You are invisible, but I see you. I pray for you. Don’t lose hope.” We need those words. We need someone to be holding that sign for us.

We must battle hard things (unfortunately) too often. We fight for ourselves, sometimes traveling a lonely road when no one stands with us, and the arrows just keep coming our way. We walk by faith –  with faith in God, with hope that things will turn around. We lean into God, praying for His strength.

Sometimes things are irritating, like a pile of laundry or dishes, or overwhelming, like a pile of bills. Sometimes we deal with the criticism of others, with lack of acceptance, with judgments. Sometimes it is trying to get our strength back or feet underneath us after the world has tossed us around, whether due to illness or cruelty or just a lousy day. But we can do hard things.

Sometimes it is pushing ourselves to try something new, taking a risk, and pushing past fears. We cannot always stick with what feels safe. Sometimes it is listening to God when we do not necessarily like what he is trying to say. Our time is not limitless and waiting for a “better” time might never come. So, I kept running on Sunday because I do not know when the day will come when I will be unable to run. Life (and health) is precious and we see that every day.

At mile eight I needed to keep moving; I knew I would regret it if I stopped or even started walking. So, I kept running. It was a mental battle. I think most things are.

Right now, your life may be hard, but you can do hard things. I believe in you. So does God. This is me, holding your sign today.

Sheila Hellermann is a member of St. Mary Parish in Melrose. She works at St. John’s University as a program and department coordinator for several academic departments.


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(3) comments

Sheila Nelson October 9, 2021

What a powerful reflection–and so very necessary during these difficult and challenging days. We CAN do hard things… TOGETHER! Thanks, Sheila!

Mike Kjelland October 9, 2021

What a wonderful message and inspirational experience and accomplishment!

Dcn Rick October 9, 2021

Thank you! Your are a dear friend.

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