Saturday, July 19, 2014

Crazy Week

I last wrote three days ago.  I ran on the 16th and 17th but not on the 18th.  The 16th was another easy 5 and the 18th was a wonderful 8 miles on a cooler and less humid day.  I have now accumulated 1156.2 miles total putting me near the corner of Hawaii Rd & 2600th Street in La Harpe KS.  When I switch to a sattelie view it looks like there are mostly famrs on either side of where I am running on my virtual pilgrimage.  For a while it looks like I will primarily be on long stretches of fairly open road.  Marathon running can feel that way sometimes--not knowing where the road will turn or end.  Life can feel ttat way sometimes.  But most of the time my life is very dynamic and not just a long and straight road.  

For example, this week has brought some amazing things.  First, Sherry and I purchased a new car for the first time in 10 years.  A very basic manual transmission car.  Pretty cool.

Second, a friend posted that it was the four year anniversary of her husband's passing.  I count the passing of Gerry Paradiso as an important event in my life for a number of reasons.  First, it brought me to marathon group training rather than the individual training I had been doing.  Second, it brought me to think about the importance of specific Bible stories and a much deeper symbolism.  The story of the five smooth stones that was shared at Gerry's memorial service has stuck with me ever since.  Finally, I recall Gerry being described as someone who found ways to do what he loved and to take chances. My blogging is that.  My running is that.  Even my tattoo is that.  My change in jobs is that.  Marriage is that for all of us--being with someone we love and taking the chance that they will love and stay in love with you.  Most of my life is that.  And it was amazing to hear how happy someone else had been trying to do that in so many ways.

What I have come to realize is that I have lived my life and shared my interests in a very public way since then.  My blog.  My social media.  And people notice.  

In the past week two people have confided in me about things that took me off guard.  One person mentioned feeling the need to be careful about what is stated about faith on social media.  It seems unfortunate to me that we have reached a point like that.  But I was someone with whom this other person trusted and felt comfortable speaking about faith.  Everyone knows that I have taught in the religious education program at St Pius X, that I have enjoyed it, and that I am now looking forward to serving on the Mission and Planning committee for the parish.  Everyone knows that starting with 1313 for my first marathon (1 Cord 13:13) and continuing to this day, I will at times seek to find ways to write about my bib numbers and race times in a religious reading context.  There are few secrets.  And maybe some people do think I am crazy.  But this opens doors into deeper insights I an have of others.

Second, someone came to me to ask about my tattoo.  Who did it, where, and how did I come up with the design.  While the kids were doing spin art at the end of week Bible School activity last night, I typed up what turned out to be a VERY long description of my thought process, what I descirbed to Emily Sloman when I first had a consultation with her, what she did to bring together the set of ideas I described, and how amazed I was at the whole process.  The person (who shall remain nameless until this person chooses to share with others the idea for a tattoo or gets one) indicated a feeling of being speechless reading the long description and that I was the only person that this person felt comfortable asking.  Again, almost everyone whom I know is aware of my tattoo and the fact that it has some significance (a large tattoo on the calf that includes a guy shot with arrows chained to a gas streetlamp and being rescued by a woman with a pink dress must mean something, right?).  And my willingness to have an idea, get the tattoo, be so open about it, and share makes an impression on people.  Maybe ther eare peple whom it turns off.  But there are also people for whom it opens the door.  

Tying this all together, I don't think I had mentioned that I recently read an article about having an "inner C-suite".  Chier executive officer--vision.  Chief financial officer--analytic.  Chief operating officer--get it done.  Chief people officer--work with, support, encourage, build up, and manage people.  Of all the parts of my job, I enjoy the last the best and I have proven to be pretty good at it.  It shows in my life as well.  Being willing to share has opened many more doors than it has closed.  And those doors have led to some incredible insights.  in the context of this week, Gerry Paradiso's life was an example that got me to be more willing to express myself and to share.  Seeking ways to express it brought me to working with Emily to get the tattoo.  

In memory of Gerry's passing and remembrance, I paste below a section of my first personal blog (as opposed to professional blog) entry from 8/1/10 when I was writing about Physical and Spiritual Running

During the service, someone shared an incredible story. While the story-teller’s faith and Gerry’s faith were different they shared a bond through faith. And when she took her family to Israel for her son’s bar mitzvah, she asked Gerry what he would like her to bring back. Gerry asked for five smooth round stones. Remember that David had five stones when he went to face Goliath although he needed only one. The five stones were at the memorial service today. 
I don’t necessarily plan to carry five physical stones 26.2 miles [although I did eventually] while I run in October, but I could have five “figurative” stones in my pocket representing love, strength, perseverance, ambition, and focus. Each could help me achieve my goal in the way that any of the stones could have helped David. But, as David needed only one, I really need only one; the others are just backup. The one I need—love. Love for my friends, colleagues, and family members who have been touched by cancer. Love for my children as I show an example of setting and achieving a goal. Love for my wife who has endured the extra time I’ve spent training this year. Love of and thankfulness to God who has given me so many gifts. Love will guide my way, and everything else will just fall into place. I should not even need the other “stones”—even if having them does provide reassurance.

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