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"A Leap of Faith"

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Written by Pat Curran

Posted on 17 January 2018

Last Updated 17 January 2018

DESTINATION TOUGHMAN: 27 Days Until Race Day

 

 

Blind Prisoner: You do not fear death. You think this makes you strong? It makes you weak…

 

Bruce Wayne: Why?


Blind Prisoner: How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible, without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: The fear of death.

 

Bruce Wayne: I don’t fear death. I fear dying in here while my city burns, and there’s no one there to save it.

 

Blind Prisoner: Then, make the climb!

 

Bruce Wayne: How?

 

Prisoner: As the child did. Without the rope. Then, fear will find you again.

 


--Uri Gavriel and Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight Rises”

To see video, click here

 

 

How do you manage fear? Do you try harder? Vow to never quit? Run away? For a long time, I’d overcome fear by crushing it with anger and remaining stubborn until the moment passed. However, I’ve also found that sometimes fear can cleverly disguise itself as bravery. Specifically in triathlon, I learned that trying harder while using a failing strategy seems fearless, but it actually serves as an escape. It’s a way to end the journey early through an injury and say, “Well, I tried…”

 

There is a unique characteristic about heroes in that they value their life a little bit less than the lives of others. That’s incredibly noble, but the thinking is incomplete. A person who is too willing to die for what they believe in can more easily be killed. But a person who says, “Somehow, I must find a way to live for all that I love” is far more likely to complete their mission and fulfill their purpose.

 

The next step in the “Hero’s Journey” requires a leap of faith. Embrace your fears. Trust in God. Share your burdens. Then, decide to be unstoppable.

 

God gives us fear for a reason. We must allow enough of it to live within us and be willing to give the rest away. In combination with love and anger, the right amount of fear compels us to innovate and gives us access to strength we never knew we had.

God Bless,

--Pat

www.freedomslight.org


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Letters From Your Father –

“Becoming Spiritually Aware”



“Brother whatever I have I done to wrong you,

whatever I have done to lead you to do this,

I am truly sorry. But these people are innocent.

Taking their lives will give you nothing.

 

So, take mine and end this.”

 

 

Chris Hemsworth in the movie “Thor”

To view video, click here

 

 

Dear Girls:

 

 

It’s December 17, 2013. I rush home from work to make sure two of you (Elizabeth and Lauren) get to Christmas Week mass as part of your Catholic education requirements. We enter the church with barely seconds to spare as mass begins.

 

As we go through mass, my mind is drifting between listening in and several random thoughts about work. After Communion, the priest tells us that we are welcome to stay for Confession immediately after mass. I certainly heard that part.

 

“Oh, man…” I think out of pure fright. “I don’t go to Confession anymore. I speak to God directly now.” With great confidence, I convince myself that not participating is the right decision for me.

 

A few minutes go by. I feel a tug on my sleeve. “Daddy, are we going to stay for Confession?” At that moment, my pride melts. In the span of about 2 seconds, I have a big choice to make: Lead by example and go to Confession with my girls, or continue to cling to my reasons and prepare for lots of questions. The choice is hard for me, but clear. I must go to Confession with them so my personal doubts do not enter into their faith formation process.

 

As I look at the different priests participating, I immediately fixate on Father Bob. He is highly intelligent, very reflective, and speaks in a manner that makes any common man comfortable. In a way, it’s kind of how I always imagined God. As I wait in line, I am desperately trying to think of a way to succinctly summarize the most weighty issue on my conscience.

 

When I get to see Father Bob, he starts by making small talk. He must see how nervous I am. Then, the big question, “So Pat, what’s troubling you?” The details of our discussion remain private but fundamentally, I told him that I’m guilty of a weak faith. There was a time when I doubted if God truly existed and for the last 7 years I have dedicated myself to rediscovering my “true” faith. Yes, I am still a believer. But, there is still one gray cloud I cannot seem to shake from my past. I’m ashamed to say that my faith is not strong enough to dissolve it. Father Bob listens very closely, gives me some advice, and my night ends with the very clear conscience of knowing that I did the right thing for both of you.

 

It’s now 5:02am the next day. I am on the Tappan Zee Express bus, starting my long commute into work. One of the first things I do while sitting in my seat with my coffee each morning is to reflect on my 5 Q's . First question: Where’s the hidden message from yesterday that I need to see? This usually takes time for me to think through but not today. Unexpectedly, it hits me immediately like a lightning bolt. “You are forgiven!” I’m shocked that this was the phrase that immediately went through my mind. At this point, I am quietly sitting in the dark on the bus, smiling from pure relief with tears streaming from my eyes. It is not like I feel forgiven for doing something bad. It is more of a peace, saying “Hey… We don’t know why you left. We don’t care. We’re just glad your back!”

 

What I realize later is that this is the last piece for reestablishing the foundation of my faith. I had to demonstrate an act of unconditional love in service to God. In this case, it was surrendering all my rules and conditions for the relationship and offering myself to full judgment for the sake of my children. I can’t explain it in words. Something well beyond faith came back to me that morning. But it came back salty, life-tested, and real.

 

So, what’s the point of the story? Anyone can see God in an early morning sunrise, when the birds are singing, and the skies are clear. But can you see God in the darkness of sickness, hunger, desperation, and death? Most cannot and just leave the gap unreconciled. You do not have to be one of these people.

 

There is a way to grow a light from within so strong that it can melt away the darkness. To ignite sparks, simply deliver small acts of kindness without expecting anything in return. What you will witness is that even a dim light can help others see what they could not without you. Then, as your own light grows in strength, it will be clearer to you that something exists well beyond the time we have. This period can be confusing, maybe even emotionally painful. You won’t have all of the answers so you must take some leaps of faith in order to continue growing. Finally, comes the moment of a spiritual awakening. This is when you realize that each day people are asking for miracles and you are now participating in the effort for making some of these requests happen. There is nothing more fulfilling to the soul than knowing that you are acting as a bridge between this world and the next.

 

What I learned is that we're on a journey "to know, love, and serve God in this life and to be happy with Him forever." To have any idea how much God loves us, we must first learn the value of loving others.

 

Next week, we pull all of these lessons together as “Three Superpowers, One Light.”

 

Until then…

 

Love You Forever,

--Dad

 

Reference:

Video: Better Days (The World Begins Again) – by the Goo Goo Dolls
Journal (2013): "The Sleeper Has Awaken!"

Quote: St. Ignatius of Loyola – Our Life’s Purpose

 

 


This Week in Training

“Someone Saved My Life Tonight”

 

 

And someone saved my life tonight, sugar bear

You almost had your hooks in me, didn’t you dear

You nearly had me roped and tied

Alter-bound, hypnotized

Sweet freedom whispered in my ear

You’re a butterfly

And butterflies are free to fly

Fly away, high away, bye-bye…

 

 

Elton John performing “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”

To listen to the full song, click here

 

As the final part of this week’s challenge, choose a hero you can look up to and list a few lessons that you can/will incorporate into your life.

 

In truth, I have chosen dozens examples to emulate and incorporated many of their lessons into my own life. The one I’ve come back to time-and-time again is the hero’s journey of Jesus. As an adult, I’m fixated on how he bypassed all of the social norms of race, religion, wealth, social position, and even degrees of sins committed by others in order to heal the sick and help the poor. His actions were driven by forgiveness and compassion rather than man-made rules and punishment. Also, he dealt with the highest levels of betrayal and found a way to endure. Wow! When the only requirement for friendship is that the other person seeks peace and goodwill, life becomes so much simpler. And when you know that the real prize of eternal life is already given, its quite liberating.

 

To be clear, I am not here to convince you that my faith is the best path. Faith is a deeply personal choice each individual has to figure out. But, I am here to help you find your “Hero from Within.” My main point is that others have come before us and left clues through their stories and life’s work. Why not slow down enough to learn from them and provide much needed food for the soul? It just might save your life!

 

Here’s this week’s workout plan:

 

Monday:         Swim 20 x 100m; Run 8 x 400m

Tuesday:       Run 2hrs 15 min

Wednesday: Swim 2 x 1200m; Bike 2 hr

Thursday:     Swim Drills & 15 x 50m; Bike 45 min (Drills)

Friday:           Bike 4 hrs; Run 45 min

Saturday:       Long Stretch / Prep for Race

Sunday:        West Point Triathlon!

*Core strength training includes chin-ups, push-ups, planks, rock wall climbing

**Stretch 30 min each day to “injury-proof” and avoid becoming “brittle”

 

Tip of the week:

With just about a month left, it is time to bring everything we learned about all 3 disciplines together into one big race. For the swim, pierce through the water with limited exertion by balancing, streamlining, and propelling yourself forward. On the bike, use the gears for making smooth circles with the peddles at 90 RPMs regardless of terrain, drink lots of fluids, and save your legs for the run. After spending a few extra moments in transition stretching, start running slowly and perfect the “Pose Method” of running. Pace for the first mile should be the same for the last mile. When you hit the wall, remember “pose, fall, and lift.”

 

Next Sunday is the West Point Sprint Triathlon. It’s an opportunity to fully test all of my skills while competing with others. Very exciting…