|Aleela and I running in Marshall, Minnesota|
The second day of Spring! A welcome season, indeed. Especially this year. I have always prided myself in being a true Midwestern girl, loving the change of seasons and all they have to offer. Winter in general has been a time of rest for me. Less hours in the day has always meant less to do and more time hunkering down with the family watching good movies and getting to bed early. Since becoming ill, my reaction to the change of seasons has evolved significantly. For example, much of my time is spent indoors regardless of the season. Sunshine and heat can be my worst enemy and if not taken with precaution can lead very quickly to a flare. So the reprieve that winter once offered now feels even more restricting. This year in particular, I had to work very hard at keeping things in perspective and staying in the "Now". But I'm not always successful, and sometimes that's not only OK, but maybe a little bit necessary.
This will be my third Spring "post-diagnosis". I'm hoping to be be better prepared this year. The past two years things really crept up on me and it was not until I did a considerable amount of suffering that I finally figured things out. Much like holidays and birthdays bring suffering to those that have lost loved ones, so too, I feel loss associated with particular times of the year. The embodiment of my loss of health is epitomized by one thing - my inability to run. I started running when I was eleven years old. I knew at a very young age there was something in running that gave me space. It opened me up, cleared out the mess of life and made me feel good about myself. Until this illness, running had seen me through every struggle. Whether it was the birth of babies, back surgeries, the death of loved ones or the end of a marriage - running helped me to heal. And springtime was my favorite time to run.
One of the best things about running for me, was the opportunity it presented to run with my family. Dave and I talk frequently about all the cities and states we have run in. It's fun to go back to certain locations and think about all the roads and paths we have traveled. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles on foot, each step carrying with it a story. Even around our own home, there is about a twenty five mile radius of endless country roads that bear the footprints of our travels. We can drive those very same roads and never experience the sights, smells and sounds that we do when on foot. It's unexplainable.
|A record run!|
Sometimes I long so desperately for those days that I can barely swallow the lump that fills my throat. I suppose, on the outside looking in, most would think us absolutely crazy. I wish I could describe better how much more those experiences were other than just "exercise". I think what I am realizing is that it was during those times that I began to experience what it is like to be present in the moment. And to have been in that space with the people I love most in life was a gift beyond measure.
The women in the mirror is indeed a different women. She's a better women. I may still struggle with the image I see (and even that is getting much better), but the women looking back at me is no longer running - TO anything or FROM anything. My life is much less about "becoming" and much more about "being". I guess you could say I'm experiencing my own change of seasons. Like we all must do at some point or another as the days of our lives pass so quickly by. And it's OK to sit and think for a bit about the paths our feet have trod along the way. But it's the very ending of those stories that make way for the new. It's the cold, barren dirt of winter that provides the life giving energies to the beauty of spring.
For in everything, there is a season.
|I love you, Aleela.|