Sometime in the summer of 2015
Ours is a story of loss and finding; of getting lost, and finding the thing that does not change or fade away, and following it.
When I was younger, I climbed the ranks in competitive sport to being one of the nation’s fastest rowers in age and weight class. Above all, I belonged to a community of athletes welded together into a solid alloy in the forge of competitive sport, hammered on the anvil of surreal discipline by a leader and coach like no other.
Then bit by bit, my friends moved away. The forge cooled, and the alloy came apart under the chemical stress of the salt of separation.
I could not bear going back to the gym or on the river when I had hung up the oar. For all I could see was what I used to be. I tried buying a membership to the gym I’d spent hours at winter nights with my teammates, where we’d beat and batter our bodies into finely tuned machines through hours on rowing machines and by lifting hundreds of pounds of steel. Before long I had to forfeit my membership because the sight of that forge only filled me with gloom at having lost the glory of the Eden of my youth. I was filled with sadness to the point of tears, because the sights and the smells brought too many happy memories back that I knew I could not get back. The river carried me downstream, and I had no way of going back. I mourned the past, but that is no way to live.
I started praying the rosary in 2015 after doing a self-guided consecration to the Virgin Mary with the book 33 Days to Morning Glory, which I had picked up from church one day, out of curiosity. Days later my wife and I were running errands when we drove past my old gym on St. Laurent Boulevard. “Pull over honey, I said. “I’d like to buy a membership”. It was a loud question in my mind whether I’d be able to stomach going back again, but I felt a sudden urge to try. A few days later, I returned to the gym for my first workout. The depression and the sadness vanished. It was like I had never stopped going. I have been going regularly since, and have returned to the river, my happy mistress, to row summer nights. This was the first time I felt the quiet power of Mary’s intercession in my life.
If you want to feel the quiet strength of Mary in yours, pray with me: Mary our hope, have pity on us. Sweet heart of Mary, be my salvation.