I attended a small Catholic parish high school in Celina, Ohio. I loved growing up in Celina and loved our school. Although we had a “boys” basketball team that played other schools, we did not have a formal sports program for “girls”. However, a number of us got together and formed intramural teams. We played basketball and volleyball in the gym at night and in many ways yearned to be able to play other schools.
I don’t remember exactly how it came up, but a number of us students wanted to run track. Not only did we not have a track at our school we did not have a coach. One of the nuns, our teacher, agreed to be our track coach. I still remember our early morning (5:30Am or 6:00AM) practices at the public school track, the only time the track was available. We girls and Sister stood out in the early morning cool spring mornings to realize a dream. We conditioned by running the streets of our town. We ran sprints and relays on the track to get use to the surface and the timing. Relays in particular were tricky, harder than you initially think. Relays involve teamwork and camaraderie and timing. Relays also involve in many ways, an exchange of energy as one person running hard not only passes on the baton but also the energy level they achieved by running their lap. We needed to synchronize. Dropping the baton resulted in being disqualified. Yes, we practiced so we could “run” with other schools. We competed in one track meet.
I think of running track and particularly relays when I read Luke 24:46-53 which tells the story of what we call the Ascension of Jesus. “Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high”, Jesus tells the disciples. And after Jesus departed, they gave gratitude for his presence among them. Joy, wonder and awe filled their hearts. How different from other times when the disciples walked away in fear. Jesus passed on his energy to them. As in running relays in track yet in a most profound way the Ascension involved passing on, an exchange of energy and love, care, teamwork. Jesus prepared his friends well for the exchange of energy and the invitation to love and be for others. How do we know this? The scriptures say joy filled their hearts.
Running relays in track is not as easy as it looks. Similarly passing on energy to others that is life-giving, positive, encouraging, and compassionate takes focus, prayer, openness, love, care, time and team work.
What do I do to nourish the divine spirit within and receive the divine energy? What do I do to pass on life-giving energy to others? Sometimes in the midst of stressful situations we may need to pause, take moments of quiet and allow the life-giving divine energy to be passed on to us–and thus we pass it on with joy.
Our invitation is to embrace energy.
Blessings and peace