“Let’s go for a run.”
Oh, those words sounded horrible. Why would I want to go for a run? It’s a Saturday morning, I’ve got my coffee in hand, and my cozy pajama pants still on.
“Come on. When else will we have a chance to go together?”
He was right. Papo was here to stay home with the kids. We wouldn’t have another opportunity like this again for a while.
“But I don’t run as fast as you,” I said. Lately Ian’s been running ten and a half minute miles. I don’t even think I can get my tennis shoes tied that fast.
“That’s okay. I’ll run with you so we can stay together.”
I had no other excuses. What else can you say to the double amputee asking you to go for a run with him? How is it possible that he is the one motivated and you (with both legs and all your fingers aren’t?)
“Okay,” I said.
And off we went. Ian, looking cool in his curvy fake legs, and me, wobbling along trying to keep up. We jogged really slowly, yet Ian never complained about my pace. My lungs struggled for air, but I acted like I could go on forever (until I couldn’t, of course.)
After a mile and a half I realized I wasn’t going to make it to three like I’d originally thought. I stopped.
“Why don’t you go ahead on your own and jog faster? I bet you can do two laps by the time I’m done walking one. We can meet up and finish together.”
So he left me. I watched him as he jogged away, farther and farther each minute. I, relieved that I didn’t have to keep up anymore, slowed my pace and my breathing and started to enjoy just being outside. It was windy and cool, but somehow I also felt the sun’s warmth. I looked around at all the beauty around me… the leaves in different shades, the clear sky, and the crisp, beautiful weather. I was grateful. Just two days after Thanksgiving I’m still pondering all that I have to be grateful for.
Today, during my “run” with Ian, I realized how grateful I am for him. For his never-ending great attitude. For his willingness to encourage me. And for his determination to thrive.
When I finished walking my lap I sat on the curb and waited for Ian. A few minutes later I could see him jogging to me. He looked strong and confident. I pulled out my phone to take his picture.
“Come on! Let’s go!” he said to me. “You can do this!”
Yes, the double amputee was encouraging ME. He wanted me to get up and join him. I was tired, but I did as he asked. We ran the last quarter of a mile together.
“See? That was fun!” he said when we got to our mailbox. “Thanks for going with me.”
Thank YOU for pushing ME, Ian. Thank you for your spirit. Thank you that you never quit. THAT, dear friends, is something I’m thankful for every day. 🙂