Monday, October 19, 2009


Sometimes things happen in this life that really put things in perspective. I can't decide if I'm more surprised at the patience of our creator or my own stubbornness when it comes to how many times I have to be shown what is really important in this world. My life is not great right now. There really is no other way to say it. It sucks in many ways. But really I'm blessed in so many more ways.

I had the amazing privilege to meet an extraordinary woman today on a flight to D.C. The conversation started out as most do with jovial banter about where you from, where you going, etc. I really enjoy meeting new people and was content to leave this one at the superficial level of airline seat companions but something changed at some point and I found myself deep in an emotional experience I won't soon forget.

This amazing woman has a daughter that composes music freestyle. No sheet music and no pre-programmer recordings. She plays all the instruments and then arranges them into wonderful compositions of boundless waves of melodies. I've always wondered about and been in awe of artists who weave their crafts directly from the heart onto their canvases. I'm not exaggerating when I say this music was good. It really was. The girl is 13! She free-flows this music and you can feel the emotion in the songs. I'm a sucker for talented people who produce honesty and beauty directly from their soul. When the structure and the form aren't studied and force-learned but are planted in the soul of the artist by the creator it stirs my soul and makes me realize how amazingly more than predictable this life really is.

That is not why this woman touched my heart however. She had a son that was a twin of her much-talented daughter. He was 13 and as wonderful and joyously intriguing as his twin. His life was taken by a virus that attacked his precious little heart. He was taken suddenly. I know all this because I shared with this saint-of-a-woman that I was worried I had spoiled my youngest son because I want to hold him all the time and did so when he was younger. We are now trying to break some of his clingy habits and I was espousing the trials of having a spoiled 6 year old when she stopped me and told me of her late son. I was stopped in my tracks. My eldest is 14. I take him for granted much more often than I like to admit. Although he is a teenager, I remember him as a small baby that had wild hair when I think of him. I remember teaching him to ride a bike and putting him on the school bus for the first time. I remember him playing soccer and I'll never forget the day we both played hookie from school and work and played a Playstation game all day. What I can't imagine is the thought of him being taken. Suddenly. How hard it is to imagine that in a few hours he could be gone? That is the one thing I can't seem to get my mind around. I can accept a lot and try to keep myself prepared for most things but that I just couldn't handle.

There is nothing you can do to reconcile the balance sheet after the loss of a child I suppose. Truth is, my heart went out to this woman but it seemed insignificant and much too tainted to be worthy of even speaking with her about it. I have questioned my worth ever since. All the selfish desires I have followed at the expense of others that I care for, all the worthless situations I've worried about, all the personal goals I've sacrificed for all seem nothing more than vapors when put up against the backdrop of what this woman has been through. I wish I could write words that could ease her pain or do this subject justice but I can't.

What I can do is ask you all to go hug the one you love. Right now. DO IT! Don't wait. Don't squander the love that's given to you.

Sorry that this post contained NOTHING about running but remember this is my psychologist's couch too.

Thanks for listening


Sarah said...

Wowza! First of all, it's been so long since I've been able to actually "see" your blog (not on Google Reader) that I can't believe the changes. Love the new theme. It's you definitely.

Secondly, thanks for the reminder to hold onto what's precious to us. I take so many things for granted lately because I'm stubborn and disgusted. It's so darned easy to forget the wonderfulness of family and friends amid our selfishness. I'm sorry you had to get a wake-up call that way, but I'm glad you did so that you can go hug both of your sons and let them know how precious they are you too. I don't have kids yet, but I can't imagine that feeling.

Lastly, I have failed to say this enough to you lately, but thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a good friend. You're a good man, Charlie Brown whether you believe it in yourself or not. (I'm ruining your tough guy exterior, I know.)

Have a super day, friend. Can't wait to meet you in person!

Anonymous said...

I like your new blog look. Was happy to see that you posted this evening.

Thank you for your honestly and addressing this non running subject. By passing on your plane conversation to others via blog, we are reminded by your story to appreciate others. To love and play with our little ones. Very timely message that I needed.

cath said...

Ive found that big life changes involving family, especially children, leave me either dark, under a cloud, or awaken me to life..'walk out like someone suddenly born in colour' ( a line from Rumi..sufi poem)...
Thanks for your great post...

Meg Runs said...

Thanks for the precious reminders...I've had some experiences over the past few weeks that have reminded me to hang on to everything I have with passion, love and in gratefulness. Thanks so much. It's not all about running, is it?

Calyx Meredith said...

Perspective is a wonderful thing. Thanks for sharing this.

Terri said...

Willie, you put yourself and your writing ability down too much. I think you did do this experience justice. And you helped out a lot of people today by speaking about your experience. And by talking with that woman. You probably helped her a lot by letting her share with you about her daughter and her son.