Monday, May 19, 2008

Running On...

You know, blogging can take a lot of time, which is something I haven't felt like I've had much of recently.

Part of the reason I have titled this blog "Running on..." is because sometimes I feel like that's all I do: running from here to there, working, taking care of household chores, going to the gym, keeping up with friends and family, and so on and so on. Sometimes I feel literally like I am running on "empty," but I just have to keep going because there is no other choice.

The other reason I have titled this blog "Running on..." is because it describes something I have been doing a lot more of recently; namely, running.

Let me backtrack a little bit. Last November when Trinity's pastors and I attended our annual Bishop's Convocation, we had a conversation with Tammy Devine, who (like me) is a diaconal minister, and is also a registered nurse and the ELCA Board of Pensions' Wellness Coordinator. Board of Pensions (BoP) is the church organization that provides health and pension benefits to leaders in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) like me and many other staff members at Trinity. Through that initial conversation and many after, Trinity came to be involved in BoP's new Wellspring Pilot, which is a program bringing BoP's messages of health and wholeness previously reserved only for those insured with BoP to the greater public through use in congregations, church organizations, etc.

Because of the Wellspring Pilot, Trinity's staff and congregation are becoming much more actively involved in many different areas of health and well-being. According to the Wholeness Wheel model, there are six different aspects of wholeness and wellness, all of which are integral parts of the whole person: physical well-being, emotional well-being, social and interpersonal well-being, intellectual well-being, vocational well-being, and spiritual well-being. Each of these areas of wholeness and well-being spring out of our baptism into Christ, through which we become "new creations in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Click on the Wholeness Wheel link in this paragraph to learn more information about the Wholeness Wheel and each of these areas of well-being.

Fortunately, Trinity has many very talented congregation members who are putting their heads and gifts together to help us all become more well. We are educating ourselves about being whole and well, and we are doing something about it. For example, one of our congregation members, Dr. Chris Cianci, is working with staff on a 12-week training program to help us reach our fitness and physical well-being goals, whatever they may be. Mine is to run again.

All of this is background to say that I have started running again. I ran quite a bit when I was in seminary, but then my Master's thesis hit me and I have never quite been able to pick it up again since. It is hard to remember that I ran 13 miles Easter weekend of 2004 and not want to pick up right where I left off. The truth is a no-brainer--after not running for 4 years, I can no longer run 13 miles. I was lucky when I started again if I ran one.

This is not just about physical well-being, however. It is also about all those other aspects of wholeness. My world is a busy, complicated world (much like yours is, I'm sure), where no one will take care of me if I don't do it myself. This world will abuse me as much as I let it. It is time to slow down and take back some time for myself. I need to stop running on empty, so-to-speak, and start running for myself. That includes taking time out to be physically well. That's what the running part is about. But, it also means taking care of myself in those other areas. It means saying no sometimes. It means not letting my job or my family or my chores eat away at my personal time. Sometimes it means staying home and vegging out on the couch with a bag of... potato chips? (I am more into granola these days than potato chips). Whatever. It means continuing education and personal devotional time and nurturing my relationships. It's a lot more complicated than just running. And yet, I feel like running is a good place to start. An added bonus is that I feel better physically than I have in years.

I will be running the Tex Mex 5K in North Wales on June 25th with Dr. Cianci and several other Trinity staff and congregation members. If you live in the area, come out and cheer us on! This is a great way for us to rally around people in our congregation who are living out their call to be more "wholly" stewards of themselves, and servants of God and community.