Fast Faith

Every Wednesday morning at 6am I ride to Garbage Hill to do hill repeats.

I hate hill repeats.

They hurt, but I’m told they will make me stronger so I am willing to tolerate the pain.

About 20 meters from the top, someone – presumably a coach for one of the many running groups that train there – spray painted the word “FAST” with an arrow pointing up, meaning at that point, so close to the top to see the end but far enough to be feeling beaten and demoralized, you are to dig deep within yourself and find that extra bit of kick lurking in the shadows of your despair.

I hate seeing that word.

Every time I pass it, all that runs through my head is “I can’t”.

As I reached the point of “FAST” yesterday on the first of many times up the hill, I noticed someone had added, in the same florescent orange spray paint, the word “FAITH”. Having walked away from the church as soon as I had the option of doing so, I sometimes refer to myself as a “lapsed Catholic” – which is a rung or two down the divine ladder from a “C & E Christian” (someone who only attends mass on Christmas and Easter). I am becoming more comfortable with the term “agnostic”, with too much lingering fear from my Catholic upbringing to fully commit to “atheist”.

And yet, the addition of the word “FAITH” to the road somehow makes me feel better – offering a gentle encouragement to find the confidence and strength to make it to the top.