It’s Thursday, which means nothing really, but in social media world it has become #throwbackthursday. People posts pictures from last week, last month, their first 5k or marathon, or maybe a picture from high school, which for some us was a long, long time ago! (What were we thinking with that big hair?!) For my Thursday, I’ve compiled a list of throwback stories to share, provided by the wonderful people of the internet. Enjoy.
This week I got into a conversation with a recent high school graduate based on her following tweet:
“I went swimming today at my friend’s graduation party & I couldn’t even enjoy myself because I’m so self conscious in a swim suit.”
A few of us ‘older’ and ‘wiser’ folks tried to encourage her to focus on her health and her happiness, reassuring her that she is beautiful and strong, and a plethora of other positive reinforcements. Here’s the thing: she shouldn’t even have that thought cross her mind. It is summer and it is hot outside and she is young and putting on a swimsuit should be the last of her worries. I could go on a rampage here about the media and unrealistic physical expectations of women, and Victoria’s Secret models and Kim Kardashian’s ass… but I won’t….for now. As women, (can’t speak for the gentlemen) we spend far too much of our life not wearing the swimsuit, not buying the dress, not doing something until we lose weight, firm up some muscles or drop a size. We feel ugly and fat when truly we are all beautiful just the way we are. We literally waste YEARS waiting for something to be ‘just so’ rather than enjoying and celebrating the here and now.
Wear the swimsuit. Buy the dress. Dance in public. Sing karaoke.
Someone I consider a friend from Twitter shared some very bad news with me and with the Twitter world-at-large this week. Michelle Wolfer, @lutherungirl has been in treatment for breast cancer over the last year, and in spite of previous reports, found out that the cancer has returned and has moved into her liver, lungs and lymph nodes. There are no words that can clearly express how this information made feel. I’ve never met Michelle, although I hope to one day. She was sharing her struggles last year at the same time that I was running through my grief over the loss of Brice. I think we bonded over our hardships then and I felt like if she could run through her fight with cancer and chemotherapy, I could run through my fight with sadness and guilt and anger. Many of my hard miles last year were run thinking of Michelle – when I wanted to stop or give up or slow down, I didn’t. Michelle wasn’t slowing down and she had every right and a really good reason to…but she didn’t and neither did I.
Michelle is a fighter. She is a wife and a runner and a teacher and an #earthathon coach and a friend and a fighter. She attends her local Lutheran church, loves her kitties and always has an encouraging word to share. She is a woman who has lost her hair due to chemo and is going to lose it again. She is a runner that wants to keep running during whatever time she has left on this earth. She is beautiful and kind and stronger and braver than anyone I know. I have no idea how she feels or how I would feel in her place. She says, ‘There is no cure, but there is hope.‘and one of her favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 40:31:
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
I am praying for Michelle, her family and her doctors. Pray, send good healing thoughts, positive vibes, fast, burn candles or sage or herbs, meditate, perform ritual dances – whatever is your spiritual practice – do it for Michelle.
Flashing back to November for this story – November 27, 2015 to be exact. Another Twitter friend, Another Jen @PotataHed messaged me:
I ran a 5K with my son tonight, and prayed for you. Gave him an extra hug. Wishing you comfort and peace.
This was right before what would have been Brice’s 17th birthday. Jen’s son, Joe, is 15. We talked about how fast teenage boys can run and how cool it is that they will run with mom – sometimes. We should have mentioned how stinky and messy they are too. She informed me that Joe wanted to dedicate his race the next weekend to Brice. She had told him about Brice, and it opened a door to discuss a very tough subject. I was so honored and humbled and overwhelmed at the thoughtfulness of a teenage boy who didn’t know me or my son. That Saturday, December 5, Jen and Joe ran a 5k for Brice. For my Brice. For a teenage boy that they had never met.
I am still, so honored by their kindness and thoughtfulness. I asked Jen to give Joe a big hug for me. And just to put some icing on the cake she responds with this:
You were right there with me! I’ve run this race for 10 years and never even placed. Today I won my age group, and so did Joe. Have a great day, friend.
Little acts of kindness. Words of encouragement. Running for someone other than yourself. There are some very good people in this world. Be one of them.