Please bear with me. . . my mind is still reeling. This might turn into another sappy, emotion-laden post. I promise, I’ll move on soon. It’s just that, well, it’s been quite a year and I’m trying to catch my breath.
Have you ever run intervals? They are a staple of any serious runners training diet. You start by running a certain distance, say 400 meters, at a high intensity. Then you “recover” by running for a small amount of time at a low intensity. This pattern is repeated 5, 10, 15, or any number of times until you become a rock star of a runner. . . or until you faint. Interval training is one of the most difficult, but rewarding workouts that a long distance runner performs. While you are doing it thoughts like, I think I’m dying are frequent. When the workout is over, however, you feel strong and powerful, with the sense that there is nothing you can’t do.
Prior to this past year, I would say my life was quite uneventful. Things kind of went as planned. There were few (serious) personal trials, the waters were calm, and little rocked the boat. Believe me, I didn’t take that for granted. . . I counted my blessings often.
Since March of last year, I feel like I’ve been running intervals. Losing my mom. . . catch breath. . . losing running. . . catch breath. . . questions about cancer. . . catch breath. . . it was as if I was just finding my footing when another wave crashed over us. I don’t say that as a complaint, it’s just a fact.
I have found that trials are much like intervals. While in the middle of them, I’ve thought there is no way I’m going to get through it. There is no way I can take one more step. There is no way that I will ever be able to walk again. And as difficult as the trials have been and as many tears as I have shed, I would not trade these experiences for anything.
Without question, the trials have made me stronger. It’s more than that, though. Somehow, through the trials, life looks different. It feels different. Everything feels a little more sacred. . . a bit more beautiful. Each interaction feels a little more important. Each relationship feels that much more special. And the landscapes that surround me are, without a doubt, so much more exquisite.
The other day, before we got the “negative” call, I spent the morning enjoying yet another tea party with my little girl. I spent those moments with her drinking in her silly chatter with the same intensity that I drank in her fabulous tea.
I’m ashamed to say it, but I’m not sure I would have been this present a year ago. I’m not sure that a year ago I would have followed this with an hour-long game of memory. A game that was constantly being interrupted by her hiding cards, cheating, and making plans to invite Gran to our next tea party. Interrupted by talks of princesses and dresses and talk about “you and me have princess hearts and daddy and Charlie have dinosaur hearts.”
It was later on that day when the negative call came in and the emotions came rushing. As all of it settled in, I said to Chad. . . “I don’t want to go back”. And I really, really don’t. I don’t want to forget the things that I’ve learned during these trials. I don’t want to go back to just surviving each day and doing what needs to be done. I want to LIVE this life. . . I mean, really live it. I want to dive in, each and every day, with intention. Not just the big moments, but the little ones. . . I want it all to matter.
Yes, these trials have changed me. It has been a slow process and a process that I am sure is not finished. And while all of it has been hard, I am truly thankful for it. I’m thankful because through all of it, I have become a better me. And hopefully, the better me will translate into a better mom, a better wife, a better daughter, a better sister, and a better friend.