Saturday, December 17, 2011


I have not written about physical and spiritual and health in a while. Does that mean that mine has been suffering? Not really. Just that I have been so busy—with work and with things to promote my physical health that I just haven’t had the time to stop and think and write.

However, two things got me thinking today and really wanting to write. First, a friend commented that she ran with joy. That was something that I had suggested long ago. Second, while I was out on a 15 mile run by myself this morning, I was thinking a lot about the past year of running and what might be ahead for me. Lessons learned. Great experiences. Great friends. New friends. And that made me want to write.

So, my run this morning was completed in 1:55:33.22. I haven’t tried to find a Bible verse that I could link to that combination but the double numbers for everything other than the hours (down to the hundredths of a second) is pretty cool. I needed to be done early, so I ran by myself starting at about 6:20.

The run went down York/Greenmount and over to Lake Montebello. It was as I was rounding Lake Montebello that I really started pondering some spiritual aspects again. By that time it was approaching seven. The horizon had started to light up. There were thick looking gray clouds directly above me and to the west. To the east there was a semi-circular area that opened to allow the light from the sun coming up on the eastern horizon. That cast just a little light on the lake which was slightly choppy and rather gray but just starting to catch some of the light. It was an awesome sight.

The semi-circular area that was just in one place made me think of possibilities. It was like an opening. But it was a focused opening. It was not the entire sky bright and blue. There was one spot. It made me think about how I had just spoken with a colleague this week about students wanting to learn everything about everything and commented that that is not so different from JHU faculty who want to do everything—in the professional and persona lives—and I’m one like that in too many ways.

So, I thought about focus. It is not the first time I have thought about focus recently. But one reason I run is to clear my mind and try to focus. So, it is interesting to have some insight on focusing.

Part of the focus came from attending the Back on My Feet holiday dinner the previous evening. I’ve crammed in so much in the past year—back to teaching Sunday school, back to playing music at mass, running for two charitable organizations, and running as a volunteer in a third. It is all good. Each individually would be great. But the combination is mind-boggling. And that is all just part of my non-work life!

What I need is focus. If I am going to run—fine. But go with one organization. If I am going to play music—fine. But no matter how much I like both my bluegrass playing colleagues and playing at church I should probably focus on just one. I love to teach Sunday school—I can stick with that. I love cooking/baking, but I should probably choose a “specialization” and stick with that. And, at work, I can always narrow what I am doing.

The key from focusing is that I will probably be able to do the more limited number of things better and make more of a difference by focusing my efforts rather than sampling everything. I’ve spent plenty of time sampling. Now its time to see what happens when I focus a bit more. Perhaps sometime around the solstice next year, I’ll look back and see what I have done and conclude that focus is a good (or bad) thing for me. Or maybe it will just be another year with different experiences that are just that—different—without necessarily being better or worse. I’m sure that focusing brings its own challenges…

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