Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Running and the Former New York TImes Editor's Tattoo: Considering Commitment

Time to report on two days worth of running and what I thought about.  Yesterday's run was 7.8 miles.  2 miles of warm up.  Three sets of 3 quarter miles.  First set at 6:00/mile.  Second set at 5:52/mile.  Third set at 5:44/mile.  All was good.  The workout made me feel much better than I had when I awakened yesterday morning.  My throat is much better than it was on Monday morning.  That is good as I have to read ~400 names at the Business School commencement today.

Today, I went out and ran an easy 4.1 miles.  New course.  Up into Stoneleigh and home.  Very nice. 

Puts my total up to 822.4 miles.  I am still in Illinois on my virtual pilgrimage.  In fact, many of the most recent miles have been on bike trails.  It's very nice to see that there are so many miles of bike trails in that section of Illinois.  At the moment, I am in Glen Carbon on the Glen Carbon Heritage Bike Trail. 

The Catholic church in Glen Carbon is St. Cecilia.  She is another Roman martyr and is the patroness of music.  She is described as having sung in her heart to the Lord at her wedding.  Music is obviously relevant to me given my own ministry for numerous years and given my oldest son choosing Gregory as his confirmation name (the patron of musicians).  

Music ministry leads me to think of what (if anything) I would get as a second tattoo.  At the moment, my vision is a cornucopia bursting with breads, golden apples (teaching), and red eggs (Mary Magdalene) placed in a Garden of Eden setting with a cassowary in the background.  I've described most of that before, but the cassowary is new.  It is a reflection that not all things are good and gentle and not everything in life is perfect.  

Thinking about my own tattoo (and potential future tattoo) and thinking about advice I've given adult friends about getting tattoos, brings me to an interesting story in the news yesterday.  Here is an article about the immediately past editor-in-chief of the New York Times in one of her first public addresses after she left the position.  She apparently has a tattoo of the classic New York Times styled letter "T" on her back.  She was asked if she would get it removed.  Removal of any tattoo is not perfect.  But it says something about her commitment (at least that she is willing to admit to publicly).  Getting a tattoo is not to be taken lightly.  Like marriage.  Like parenthood.  A tattoo is designed to be forever.  A tattoo should be something that if it is on a part of the body that is visible to others, the person getting the tattoo would need to want to explain it on the day they get it, one year after that day, ten years after that day, and (should they be lucky enough) fifty years after that day.  The former editor-in-chief seems to have made a choice that reflects a story she will always be willing to tell regardless of her employment by the paper.  My tattoo of St Sebastian and Irene is a story about vulnerability, strength, and people helping people that I will always want to tell.  My story about bread, teaching, and contemplation is something that I would always want to tell.  When I first thought about a second, I had music high in my mind.  But now I don't.  It reflects how important it is to consider the tattoo long and hard before getting one.

It is like running.  Not necessarily a lifetime but definitely something that takes commitment.  And certainly something (like any exercise) that if I am wanting to do today, in a year, in ten years, and in fifty years will lead to a much better health and wellness outcome.  And to spread even further, my approach to spirituality and religion--also a matter of life long commitment. 

So, a couple of runs, "arrival" in Glen Carbon, IL, and looking up some of the history around St. Cecilia leads to thinking about some very interesting issues regarding commitment.  From tattoos to exercise to religion.  The stories we tell. The dreams we have.  The things we wish.  Driving life ahead.  

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