In he middle of the Team Hoyt 5K road race as I struggled in the 90 degree heat to find a good pace, as my daughter and I were growing hot and cranky, I vowed to never run another road race except maybe the Tufts 10K. My daughter and I exchanged words that we knew we didn't mean as we were tired, hot and hungry (it was an evening race which always makes pre race fueling a challenge). And then there was a woman a little way in front of us and she asked if we could stay together. She had done the road race years before pushing her daughter who is in a wheelchair but did not know the way. She also thought she was going to only run/walk for one mile; her husband told her the place would be marked for her to turn around and return to the finish after one mile. There was no marking. So there we were, 3 souls whom God brought together for a purpose.
I shared my story with this mother whose daughter was struggling with her physical challenge of being a double amputee and also having a traumatic brain injury. She is 24 years old and had received care at Spaulding Rehab. I asked her if she had participated in the Weingarten Adaptive Sports Program; she had all of the paperwork but her daughter wanted no part of it. I gave her my card (I always keep them handy in my fuel belt) and asked her daughter to call me. We had no idea where we were going, how far we had traveled since there were no mile markers but saw some runners ahead of us so we knew we were on the right path. Our fellow traveler recognized a landmark; she lived in the area and knew we were heading the right way. In the near distance I spotted a friend of mine, Tim Doiron (who also blogs and whom I met through www.justfinish.com) with his son Alex. They met us and ran us into the finish line providing the three of us with a lot of cheer and support. My daughter and I had managed a 14:36 minute/mile pace - that was ten minutes off of my first 5K run on June 1, 2008. It always feels so good to make progress but the greatest progress I made last Thursday was in the area of Trust.
When we got off of Rte 128 to go to the race, there were no signs pointing us toward where we needed to go. I drove seeking to find the 3 lights which were our landmark and my gut told me to turn around nd go back the other way since I did not see a 3rd light. We drove the full length of the road in the other direction, passing a police man and then again, my gut told me I needed to turn around. I rolled down my window yelling out to a woman whose window was open and indeed I needed to turn around. So when we got the police man, I told him I was lost. He told me I needed to go straight for about 3 miles. Had I been patient the first time, I would have reached my destination. Had I become still rather than feeling a knot of fear, and had a knee jerk reaction, I would have known I was going the right way and would have reached the intersection. And just as, in the middle of the run, I was wondering what I was doing out here competing yet again in another road race feeling lost and alone with the pack way ahead of me, God sent me my answer.
I have a purpose and I need to be still and patient and to allow God's light and Voice to enter to reveal to me the path I am supposed to be on. When I try to control a situation, it usually does not turn out well. When I release the reins of control and go in the flow, life is so much easier. And when I allow love and gratitude to flow through me and wash away those feelings of unworthiness and doubt and fear, I can shine and be vibrant and truly enjoy life.
Today my husband and I got up at 7:00 am to join the Marathon Sports running club. Domenick our beloved trainer from Spaulding greeted us with a warm hug and smile (well he hugged me - he shook my husband's hand). Domenick is so cool as a trainer - he gave us a route and told us it's about 3 miles (this was after the Boston Marathon run). Well, as my husband and I took off on this '3 mile' run I felt we were doing a really good pace. On the way back, my husband really pushed me and I felt I was flying; my watch said it was 45 minutes and then 48 minutes and I'm thinkin' - hey wait a minute, this is a slower pace than when I ran on Thursday night in the heat so I really poured it on and when we finished, I asked Dom, 'how long a run did we just do?' And he told me it was 1 mile to the reservoir; 1.6 miles around the reservoir and then 1 mile back - 3.6 miles! See - all I had to was trust that I was doing an incredibly fast pace and in fact, it was a 14:30 minute/mile. But you know, as I have said so often in this blog, it is not about the time per se - it is about a feeling. It's a feeling of being able to challenge myself and overcome my limiting beliefs. It is a feeling of doing better than the last time out but it's also a feeling of loving myself no matter what pace I have done. It's a matter of knowing that I am a shining example of what is possible with God and every time I go out there and run it is a reminder to everyone that I am couragous and strong and true to my faith. When we started out on the run, I could feel my solar plexus clutch as those thoughts which can so easily hunt me, creep into my mind. By run's end, I felt so free and so gloriously in touch with God's grace in my life. Some might call those endorphins - well yes they are - but they help me to release all of the doubts and fears and feelings of unworthiness and feel the power of God's love surge through me.
We cannot always see what is going to work out for the best and highest good. My son has moved out of our house and has his own apartment. He is working at a local restaurant to pay his bills while pursuing his dream - to create a sustainable, profitable vegan collective restaurant. A friend of ours is the manager at Trader Joe's and I thought - ooh that would be a great job for him - stable company, great benefits and told him he could contact her and would be a shoe in. He did not because the job at the local restaurant is working out well for him and he loves doing deliveries because he has his independence, gets tips and is getting a lot of shifts which helps him to meet his financial obligations. When I told my friend about his deciding to not pursue the opening at Trader Joe's she said to me - well you're not gonna believe this - our downstairs neighbor just got laid off and he is the sole breadwinner for his family so I will be able to hire him for the slot - you never know.
Right before I ran the Marathon, I attended an event hosted by Spaulding Rehab about treating traumatic brain injury in returning veterans. Why was I going there I wondered since I left my work at the VA far behind me...I met Lee Woodruff, wife of Bob Woodruff, ABC correspondent who had been critically injured while covering the war in Iraq. I gave her my card and shared my journey with her. I had not given it a second thought. As I sat reading my Brookline Booksmith newsletter last week I see that she is doing a book signing at our local bookstore. So I go and there is one seat left in the front row. She made eye contact with me during her talk and after, as I went to have my book signed by her, she told me it was wonderful to see me again. I told her that I ran the Marathon and raised $10,535 for Spaulding. She high five'd me and then the words just fell out of my mouth, "I want to be on GMA to share my story." She told me to send her pitch to her blog and she promised me that she reads every comment. It would take awhile because she hd to finish her book tour - oh and I must add Perfectly, Imperfect to my favorite reads - and was going to be very busy with her tweettoremind.org campaign this Memorial Day weekend. I gave her a hug and told her I felt like she was an old friend.
As I turned to leave, a woman stopped me to say that she was also at the Spaulding Event - she just happens to overhear my conversation with Lee and we began talking about my journey. She has worked with polio survivors dealing with post polio syndrome and is also friends with my friend, Suzanne who ran on the Race for Rehab team and who I had met when I was still using a cane. She would love to come to our event at Marathon Sports on 6/24 and plans to let others know about my journey.
As I was tweeting about the tweettoremind.org campaign feeling the love that I have in my heart for our nation's veterans, I decided to let Daryn Kagan know about what they were doing. Later that day she had done an interview with Lee Woodruff and posted a blog about it on her website www.darynkagan.com and is now part of the campaign. We are all deeply connected if we just trust and believe in the unseen and how God is working with us to create love and caring and compassion once we let go of control, doubt and fear. I will confess that when God called me to this new path of poet and Boston Marathon finisher, I did not understand why I had worked at the VA for all those years - why had I taken the path of a social worker? Did I make a mistake? And of course, there are no mistakes. I can see now how working at the VA was all a part of my perfect life plan. My MSW skills not only help me in my customized poetry business to bring out what people want to say to others, but is a gift that I continue to use to help others who are experiencing life changing physical challenges. I am being called to use these gifts but in a way which enables me to live a more balanced life. And I received a call from one of my veterans whose life I had saved through a phone intervention and then getting him hospitalized as I was leaving the VA. He is one of my greatest supporters in so many ways in my new life. So there are no accidents, and part of this wonderful magical mystery tour is to see how the tapestry of my life is being woven with God's amazing love and grace.
I could go on for days about recent events involving synchronicity but that's good for now .. you get the idea - when we live in Trust and what we cannot see, it is the place where magic and miracles happen and where we move toward a New World!
To purchase a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" which helped me to heal mind, body and spirit, go to www.newworldgreetings.comF Remember, 20% of the proceeds are donated to Spaulding Rehab Hospital's polio fund.
For Father's Day, graduations, weddings and more, come find the cards you won't find in a store: www.newworldgreetings.com