“As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” Proverbs 27:19 NIV
“Are you a runner?”
This simple question came to me from an avid runner and former track coach. At the time, I was an absolute newbie–training for my first quarter marathon (6.55 miles)–and hadn’t seriously considered continuing beyond that. However, the instant my friend expressed these four simple words, I heard myself say, “I AM a runner!”
Five years earlier, I’d lost my mother to cancer, only four years after losing my father to the same disease. When my dad died, it was like the mantle of caring for my mother passed to me. But when my mom passed away, it felt like the earth stopped turning; a part of me died too.
A local cancer treatment center hosts a road race every October to raise money for research. It’s called “The Spirit of Survival.” Friends encouraged me to participate, but I wouldn’t buy it. I was stuck brooding over thoughts like, “Why did this happen?” and, “What’s the use?” After all,” I protested, “nothing could have saved my mom and dad; it’s too late for them anyway.” Not exactly uplifting, huh?
Fast forward to the summer of 2016, when I finally decided to give the upcoming Spirit of Survival a try. “Maybe it will help me deal with losing mom and dad,” I thought–not quite believing it.
I began training in July. Surprisingly, almost as soon as I took to the roads, I felt a reconnection with my parents! The fog of grief surrounding me began to break, leaving light where there had been only shadows.
Running soon became my all-purpose balm for the soul, and it still is to this day. The quarter marathon became a half marathon (13.1 miles) a year later. And when I turned 50 in 2018, I ran my first marathon (26.2 miles)!
But this perpetual adventure in healing and self discovery could have been cut short, had someone not recognized my potential and cared enough to bring it to my attention. The world needs more reliable narrators, like my friend coach Breeze, who turn mirrors into windows.
I aspire to be such a faithful guide. While you join me?