It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint by Madison Burgei

Posted on September 24, 2018

September 27th marks two months since our community moved into McKinley Park. We were all welcomed into the old convent which we now call home. The building is now full of life and laughter as twelve strangers started settling in and making it their own. Each community member entered the year with unique experiences and different cultures to share. After only one week of our extensive two week orientation most of us felt a strong connection to everyone in the house when a week prior we were complete strangers. I felt an overwhelming sense of connection with our community and a need to be living with these eleven strangers. Even though most of us had such positive reactions to living in community, we were all continually reminded by our House Coordinator that, “This is not a sprint, but rather a marathon.”

Now with nearly two months of living in community, I have found myself reflecting on this quote more and more often. I resonate with this quote because of my experience running both sprints and a half marathon. Living in intentional community with eleven strangers while transitioning into a new place and job has its ups and downs just like training and running a half marathon. I have seen similarities between my new transition into community living and my experience of running a half marathon by:

  1. The Adrenaline Rush – At the start of my half marathon I felt antsy and ready to take on the world. Even with my lack of sleep and coffee, I felt energized. There was excitement throughout the crowds of people gathered at the starting line. This same energy could be felt in Amate House during our two week orientation. The adrenaline kept us up into late hours of the night but carried us through the next days of orientation. We could all feel this was a unique group of people and we were all motivated to start our year of service together.
  2. The Routine – After a couple of miles of running, I always seem to find my pace and routine. I eventually lose the uneasiness and settle into my pace and start feeling comfortable. Now nearly two months of living in intentional community, we are starting to find a routine. Each day we are feeling more comfortable living together and navigating our roles in community living whether that be house treasurer or in my case house coordinator.
  3. The Mid-Race Fuel Up – Halfway through the half marathon is always the hardest part. At the seven mile point, I found myself feeling physically and mentally exhausted from the routine. I needed a mid-race fuel up to keep me going to finish the race. I imagine by winter in Chicago, our community will feel very similar. We will be tired of our work routine and the cold, dreary Chicago weather. I hope our community will be able to re-center ourselves with a mid-race fuel up that will help us keep engaging in intentional community and stay connected with each other.

When I think of our year of service with Amate House, it has had so many ups and downs so far just like a half marathon. We are running this race together and encouraging each other to make it to the finish line. I cannot wait to see how we continue on this marathon as we live in community each day!