by Scott & Elizabeth Williams
Scott and I love a few things to the same degree: our faith, our families and our city (also beer and coffee). When these things are all combined in one day, we are happy people. It is always so much fun to see Indianapolis come alive in April preparing for its spotlight during the month of May. Billboards, hotel art, ads on TV all beckon you out of the house to enjoy some of the events Indy is known for. The Mini Marathon draws thousands into the streets for a common and great goal: running (struggling) 13.1 miles and then bragging about it the entire summer while you take a few months off. But maybe that’s just me…
We love this time of the year so much that we decided to get married in May too. It’s Mary’s month, the weather is beautiful and the city is ALIVE. We both took some time discerning our vocations individually and praying for the other before we met that we knew quickly what God might desire for our relationship. After a quick engagement, we wanted to very intentionally prepare for our marriage. Yes, wedding planning too, but it always took a back seat to our marriage preparation (except picking out the cake…that was a fun week!) One in Christ opened our hearts and minds to the kind of marriage we were made for and what kind of love we want to show the world through our marriage. We realized that certain endeavors are successful because of intentional actions and we wanted to create our own value system based on our joint prayer to understand what God was specifically calling our marriage to.
Ultimately, we discerned that our shared core values are charity, unity and joy. We feel that God has specific ways that he asks married couples to live out their relationships for the good of each other and the world, and these are small ways that we can draw ourselves back to working for the good of the Kingdom. We saw these values come through naturally in our race, and we intentionally went out of our way to make them happen as well.
Charity: Scott has a special way of encouraging others around him and making people smile that reminds me every day of how treating people well in the little things can make a huge impact. We also made it a point to slow down at the water stations and thank as many people as we could for coming out and volunteering, thanking the policemen and women working to keep us safe and finding a trash can for our water cups (this also gave us more time to walk). Charity for others is important but being charitable towards each other is vital in a marriage. Encouraging words were exchanged, prayers were shared, and Scott made sure I got the Lemon-Lime Gatorade Goo if there was only one available. These kindnesses and acts of gratitude are so needed in this world. We are called in our vocations to bring a light into the darkness, to see the need and act on it. We may not be ending world hunger but we hope our small acts help make this journey a little more bearable. During our run, I also found out that Scott had been praying for me in the final miles of his previous Mini Marathon before we had even met. I was humbled by this act of faith and love as I knew how much he disliked running long distances.
Unity: In a world of division and confusion, Scott and I aim to remain united in our goals to get each other to heaven, to walk with each other until the pearly gates and let each other go sweetly into the arms of our Creator. This unity was found in our understanding that if one of us needed to pause, then we both did or when one of us needed to be challenged to get through a tough time, the other was there full of encouragement. This has been true in the almost year we have been married. Sometimes we need to slow down and other times we need to pick up the pace and give it our all. Seeing the blue shirts throughout the race, I felt a sense of brother and sisterhood among those with whom we ran. We could pray for each person wearing that eye-catching blue and know their journey is one that this world needs; that their vocation has been handpicked by our Lord for their good and the good of others.
Joy: Joy can sometimes be a challenge for me to embrace as I tend to let the anxieties of the world get in the way. I have learned over this year that that God desires to share His joy with us. He wants to replace our burdens with peace and joy! What a gift! It is by letting go of the little frustrations of the world that we can more fully embrace his goodness and show that to others as well. Scott took it upon himself to encourage those around him and we made jokes at the start of the race to lighten the mood of those around us. He wore a bow-tie, I found a cheap veil and a ring pop and wore them both until the end of the track (that “stone” became a snack.) We want to bring joy to those around us because it is a clear indication that God is in our midst. This has been true in our marriage as well from the mundane activities of striking up conversations at the Social Security office while changing my name and learning valuable faith-filled marriage tips from the customer service representative to making travel nightmares into “adventures.”
We found these values to make our journey more fulfilling and to bring us closer to each other and our community at large. We have a responsibility to our partner in marriage but we also have a responsibility to the faithful to pray for vocations to the Priesthood, religious life, the sacred single life and other marriages. The Mini Marathon crowd truly represents the Body of Christ in its diversity and richness. We are called to reach out of our own vocation using the grace received through our commitment. We are called to bring Christ to others and to do so with confidence in God’s providence and to have fun along the way!