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The Marathon Called Houseparenting

I am not built for running, but I’ve always wanted to be a runner. So through lots of practice, time and effort, I have worked up to running long distances—including a few marathons.

I use running as a social event and run with friends as often as possible. I also use it as time to myself when I can’t find anyone to go with me. Running both challenges and calms me, and being outside all year long, regardless of the weather, makes me feel alive.  It makes me feel connected to God, nature, others and myself.

While I’m not naturally built for it, isn’t that what makes it so great? The fact that it’s challenging, requires effort, and demands dedication makes the thrill of crossing the finish line that much sweeter. The harder I work, the sweeter the reward.

In today’s society, so many things are instantaneous: looking up information on the web, streaming live videos, and sending text updates about scores, celebrities and politics.  There are so many “30 minutes or less” ploys that we start to feel like we’re doing something wrong if a task is difficult.

But I would argue that if something is difficult, maybe we’re finally doing something right.

Living my life in front of 15 pairs of watchful eyes isn’t easy—it’s humbling. Coordinating schedules for 15 people isn’t simple—it’s challenging. But isn’t that what makes houseparenting so great? The fact that it can be humbling, challenging and sometimes exhausting makes it that much more rewarding.

The thrill of having one of our graduates call us to discuss his summer plans, talking to one of our current students about their past, or hearing an honest, heartfelt apology for the first time is worth all of the time, effort, exhaustion and hard work.

These moments are the metaphorical mile markers on our way to the finish line of this marathon called houseparenting.

Houseparenting requires effort and a lot of dedication. It both challenges and calms me, and it’s as easy and difficult as putting one foot in front of the other every single day. And after running marathons, I know that we have to commit for the long haul. There will be bumps, hills, hurdles and heartbreak, but I know the thrill of crossing the finish line will be well worth it.

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