Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Today, I Am Grateful

When  I head out for my long runs on Saturday mornings, there's one piece of advice that I always remember. I think it came from one of the coaches in the running group I'm a part of, and for some reason, the message resonated. Basically, she said that when she starts out her runs, instead of focusing on the freezing temperatures or blazing heat, instead of dreading the miles ahead, she thinks about all the people that would love to be able to be out there hitting the pavement, but can't. Like single mothers who maybe can't get a babysitter. Or the people with injuries, or worse, that prevent them from doing physical activity. Or the soldiers in far-off places who are busy defending our country.

This past Saturday morning was no different. Twelve long miles were stretched out in front of me, with the temperatures creeping and the humidity levels hovering somewhere around thick and soupy. Even though I was thisclose to making a detour into the bakery we were running right by (a cruel joke played by whoever mapped out our run that morning, if you ask me), I forced myself to keep going, and to think about the fact that even though I was tired and fantasizing about donuts, there were a lot of people who would do almost anything to trade places with me, to have the freedom and the time and the support to be out doing something they love.

And then I remembered that this Saturday morning was different. Because the "people" - the general picture I always had in my head of those wanting to run but couldn't - was a little more specific, a little bit closer to home.

Mike's brother T.J. broke his neck last weekend.  In four places.

I should tell you right away that he is going to be fine, because, more often than not, when you hear the words "broken neck", your mind doesn't go to a very good place. I know mine didn't. But he is - miraculously, he's going to be fine. Some mighty fine doctors down in Florida performed surgery (and told him, by the way, that he was the luckiest patient they had ever seen) and Mike and his dad drove down there to bring him back to Michigan so he could heal and recover with his family.

Even though T.J. probably hasn't been dying to train for a half marathon, I think I can safely assume that spending the next three months stuck in a recliner in his parents' family room wasn't exactly what he had in mind for the fall.

But when you think about the "what-ifs" and the "could-a-beens", it can take your breath away.

In a world where it's hard not to focus on the negatives -- the fancy cars we're not driving, the swanky vacations we don't get to take, the seemingly endless miles we have to run -- I'm trying extra hard to be grateful for what I do have.  A roof over my head. A husband I adore. A baby girl that brings more laughter and light into my life than I ever thought possible. Strong legs to get me through the miles, as tough as they might seem. And a healthy brother-in-law, who is still smiling despite that brace wrapped around his neck.

This wasn't exactly the way we thought we'd get him back to Michigan, but there is one little girl who is especially thrilled to have her uncle home.

Not a great picture, but the best one I had of the sweet hugs Anna kept giving T.J. from behind.

Happy Tuesday! Enjoy the miles - and be safe!

No comments:

Post a Comment