Throughtful prayer and careful reflection

I had one of those weeks when things just seem to align. Lots of great, small moments.

I went to a church near my office earlier this week for Ash Wednesday mass. In the midst of juggling projects at work, the hour of solitude and meditation was outstanding. The priest initially joked that the Pope was giving up what for Lent?!, acknowledging it is actually a pertinent time for the decision to leave his position, as Lent is a time for prayer and solemn reflection.

Pope Benedict cited his advanced age as the reason for his retirement, making his decision after thoughtful prayer and careful reflection. To be our best, the priest reminded us, we need a strong mind and strong body.

On Saturday morning, I joined my new team for our first Team In Training practice. We went out for a snowy, hilly 6 miles in Brookline. I ran by myself for the most part, but enjoyed the quiet and ran with a big smile on my face. There were a ton of runners out — the best — and being out there as part of TNT felt a little bittersweet… I was hoping to come across one of the Boston team’s water stops and I kept expecting to see Mark, Paul, Moe, and Caitlin (and Fulvio, too. It still doesn’t seem real that he is gone.) charging over a hill.

I read the book Blackberry Winter this week. It is one that bounces between two women in two eras, actually very closely linked, except that you don’t know how until the very end. Both women have broken spirits and are working to solve mysteries. They feel very much apart from the ones surrounding them. In a difficult moment, one character reminds another, “Don’t lose heart. The hardest things always turn out to be the most rewarding.”
Today we are snowed in again. My plans include almost nothing, maybe some writing, a James Bond marathon, and a few yoga DVDs. It feels like a nice way to end to another busy week; a good time to be slow, to translate prayer into strong mind, and develop some of “the hardest things” into strong body.