Friday, June 6, 2008

Reflections on Life

Blogs are useful tools for many things. They can be journals for your life, they can spotlight particular aspects (like running), they can be soap boxes for certain viewpoints. Sometimes they provide an outlet to channel your thoughts and feelings. At about the time I was puffing up the Hill of Life on Wednesday a good friend of mine was having both legs amputated. I found out yesterday and it knocked me for six. Writing about it is as good a way of handling it as I know.

We started running at about the same time back in 2001 (he's about 8 years older than me) and did a few 5 and 10ks together. While I went on to run marathons and eventually ultras, he quit running soon after. From time to time we'd talk about a race we might do together, but about 4 weeks ago, out of the blue, he had a massive heart attack. Serious enough to require a heart transplant, he's been in critical care ever since while he waits for a donor heart. Circulation problems led to the decision to amputate his legs this week.

I thought about that a lot last night while hiking the windy loop at Walnut Creek with Gavin. A father and son - 2 best buddies - walking, running together in the woods. Stopping now and again to examine a tree or a leaf or a bug, talking about nothing and everything. Such simple things that I take for granted. We don't realize how lucky we are. To not be able to do that, to not be able to swim in the pool afterwards and watch him shriek with delight as I throw him up in the air or twirl him around. To not be able to hold him, guide him and tell him how proud I am as he makes his first faltering swim strokes.

Sometimes - be it during a good run or a perfect moment with a loved one - we feel invincible. But it's just an illusion. We have our lives so well planned but none of us know what's around the corner. Things can change tomorrow. In an instant. And when that happens there are no take-backs or do-overs. I learnt a long time ago to not hanker after what I don't have. Things like this teach us to not just be satisfied with what we've got, but to be grateful.

I am both.

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