Today I felt compelled to write again because I had one of those pausing moments at lunch that I feel like I wanted to write about.
I had a wonderful lunch date with my friend and realized I have reached a peak of great magnitude following an ascent from dark places. This really was just lunch but for me it ended up being as monumental as running has been for me. We had this really great lunch and talked about running and life. We both run and it is a common factor between us that we could talk about seemingly endlessly. Lunch however, ended much differently than I could have guessed. It ended on this super serious and deep conversation which I didn’t really think I would ever have…with anyone. I have become accustomed to dealing with things alone. I don’t care to burden anyone with my mental garbage because honestly we all have our own burdens and mental clutter to deal with without having to shoulder someone else’s. It’s just how I roll now. I withdrew from life for a long time and in fact only watched life pass by me from the bottom of the hellacious ravine of depression that wasn’t all that long ago. I’m no longer there and I say a daily thank you to God, my kids and a cataclysmic willpower to not give up for keeping me here on earth. There are phases that I passed through on my weird journey to this very moment that now seem incredibly poignant. Until now every day was just a ‘yesterday’ that I kept moving forward through without looking back or stopping. Until today, I was alone and running away from all 2,112 yesterdays. Yes I’ve kept count but perhaps I’ll stop that now. Today I stopped to talk about those days a little with my friend in a conversation that just went in a different direction than either of us anticipated. It’s a big risk to trust someone and to believe that they won’t run far away screaming at the things you’ve shared from the dark corners of your mind. These are the things that you never forget or get over but as Kevin Costner said in the movie Jack Ryan, “if you’re lucky you get past it”. No truer statement has ever been uttered.
Today as I shared my journey with my friend I paused for the first time in 2,112 days and all of a sudden I knew that I’m finally standing on solid ground when once I stood on quicksand sinking. As I talked without sobbing I realized that I can now take forward steps into the happiness that took me so long to reach. I paused and realized that running is the glue that helped me get to this surprising and paramount moment that actually stopped me in my tracks. Without running I wouldn’t have made it out alive. I’m a better & much stronger runner than I was 2,110 days ago when I did one horribly hard 12:44 mile that scalded my throat from heavy breathing and made my chest ache from sucking wind. I paused because I realized just how much my children mean to me and that they have been the reason I hung on every single day moving forward, never stopping until today to take a breath in. Despite how rough it was at times and how long and arduous the road got, I am a much better mother having realized how wonderful it is and how fortunate I am that those three people are in my life and just how much I love them. I feel like I have been holding my breath for a really long time and today was the first true breath of fresh air that I’ve had in a really long time. It’s overwhelming to think about what I’ve overcome and to get confirmation from someone else that you’re not stupid or crazy and that it was real, hurtful, hard and did it’s best to no avail to beat you up. Affirmation confirmed what I had already started believing and that is simply that I am OK and everything is going to be alright.
My friend without even knowing it helped me. She gave me a helping hand in continuing on my forward motion to whatever may come. A simple lunch between friends started off very normal and ended anything but normal for me. It may have been the end of lunch but as it turns out it was the end of something much greater…. because of her simple friendship and caring it was also the end of so many days of hurdling forward with no destination except another tomorrow. It ended many things beyond salad and pizza. It presented me with an opportunity that had to be brought to my plate by someone other than myself. I took her to lunch and she served me up an answer to something I’d been searching for, for a long time. It may have ended as no big deal to her but it opened the door for me to reflect on a long journey. Who knew a simple lunch could be the catalyst to personal growth and forward motion!