Testimony Tuesday: Shameless / by Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah

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This morning, as we entered the girls daycare, I saw that one of the dads had on a NJ Marathon Shirt. I knew he was a runner, but this his shirt gave me reason to engage him in conversation. We usually do the hurried parent smile or head nod, but not much more than that. 

Me: How was the race? I see your shirt.  

Dad: It was ok. Did you run? 

Me: Not this year. I ran the half last year. Lots of my friends ran the full and the half. I heard it was a good day. 

Dad: Yes. The weather was great. The course was nice. I finished in 2 hours and 49 minutes.  

Me: Wow! That’s amazing. 

Dad: I run about five to six per year. (He rattles off a list of races, including Boston.)

Me: Have you run Philly? I ran the Philly full last year. 

Dad: I heard Philly was hilly. How’d you do? 

Me: It wasn’t that hilly, more windy than anything. I finished in over 7 hours.  

Dad: Oh. (Long awkward silence) Where do you run? 

The conversation goes on for a while about places to run, why I don’t run in those places alone (his gender privilege was showing), his elite status, and an injury he ran through until my girls grow antsy to get to their classrooms. 

As I walked away, I recognized two things: first, he is absolutely amazing and second, so am I! I also realized that this was the first time I’ve spoken about my time with anyone outside of my immediate circle of friends and family. I also proudly spoke about my marathon experience, something I haven’t done since November 19th because, in all honesty, I wasn’t proud of myself. To boast of my seven plus hour finish to an elite runner was no small thing for me.

I then called my hubby and recounted the exchange. I was giddy when I shared that I actually told him about Philly. His response, with love and jest in his voice, “You’re shameless!” 

Shameless?

Shameless.

Shameless! 

The definition of Shameless is:

adjective

  1. lacking any sense of shame: immodest; audacious.
  2. insensible to disgrace.
  3. showing no shame.

Why, yes! I am shameless. The shame that once weighed me down about my race has been lifted, thanks be to God! In that moment I recognized that I traversed the same distance that he did and I was dang proud of it. This non-athletic, thick thighed, forty-one year old working and ministering wife and mother of two had the audacity to believe God, register, train, show up at the start line, and run/walk/crawl my way to the finish line, despite pain and fierce winds. There was and is no disgrace in my efforts. I didn’t need to be timid or reticent about my time or my experience, even if he could have finished two more marathons in the time I completed one. It is what it is. I did the very best that I could, all things considered, and I have the medal and finisher tee to show for it. 

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So, on this Testimony Tuesday I am wearing my marathon medal (see above) with gratitude that God has lifted my shame. Between this experience and telling the story in my sermon on Sunday, I feel ready to wrap my head, heart, soul, and soles around November 18, 2018 when I return to the Philadelphia Marathon.