In August of 2003, I had a spiritual awakening. I was working part time in a health club, living back at home with my parents, 26 years old and not really motivated to do much, other than get together and play music with different friends in the hopes of becoming the next Pavement, Modest Mouse or At the Drive-in.
On one such occasion, I was despairing slightly of life, and asked my friend Judd why he kept at it (living). He replied with sincerity, that he believed that God had a plan for his life. That sounded interesting to me (probably mostly because I held Judd in high regard), but I had a few questions about who God was and how He could have orchestrated the writing of the Bible over so many years and Judd answered satisfactorily,
so I headed home (to my parents') and started reading the Gospel of John. It was like I had never heard it before. There was so much there about why Jesus came (to save sinners, who are all of us) and why He had to die (there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood; somebody has to pay the price, and only He was perfect) and I couldn't believe that I had never understood before how important it all was.
Some changes happened in my life.
I started talking to people about what Jesus had done (for me and for them), and one such person was a co-worker at the health club, who I ended up marrying about a year later. Heather and I started getting together one afternoon a week to run in Gordon Woods and talk. I hadn't been running much, and she was in the middle of marathon training, so mostly I was huffing and puffing and then talking when we stopped. One afternoon run together a week soon became two, and we also started attending church together and making time to see each other when it was (and wasn't) convenient.
After I became a Christian, I was free to try and fail without fear, and that was manifest in new successes with my running, my work (I had previously been notorious for quitting jobs with no notice, not a popular practice among employers) and my relationships.
I've been living for about ten years in a relationship with Jesus. What I mean is that I value Him, and strive to put Him first, and to bring Him into the day-to-day experiences I'm having by talking to Him about it. (Yes, I know He's invisible.) And I'm not very good at it. But it's so much better than what was going on in my life before. I have hope and I have a reason to live!
During this time (the past ten years) I've experienced greater joys in my earthly life than I ever imagined. I married Heather and got to become a part of her family's godly legacy. I have seen members of my immediate family become followers of Christ. I have been blessed with three healthy children: Benjamin, Grace and Emma (who all plan to run collegiately and/or professionally). With God's help, I have achieved greater (but still modest by most standards) successes with my running than I ever imagined.
Most recently (July 2012), I have been given the tremendous opportunity to coach year-round (cross-country, indoor and outdoor track) at Gordon College, a Christian liberal arts college in Wenham, MA. I truly cherish this opportunity to encourage student-athletes in their faith, their studies and their pursuit of athletic excellence.