Thanks Giving October 31 2016
Gratitude – (noun), the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Being grateful, in my opinion, is too often overlooked. It is, in a way, easier to focus on what we don’t have rather than all we do. Here are a few things I constantly thankful for:
Giving Thanks For…
Family and Friends
This September, Chris and I decided to throw ourselves a wedding… but we didn’t tell anyone our purported “family and friends picnic” was a wedding until our family and friends arrived. While some had been suspicious for some time, others were genuinely surprised, and all were thrilled for us. To be able to exchange vows in front of beloved family and friends meant the world to Chris and I both – and we are grateful for each and every person who has taken the time to send us well wishes, even if they were unable to attend.
I feel we are beyond blessed to have the ability to feel safe running with 30,000 people throughout our nation’s capital. And after running the 2013 Boston Marathon and being stopped a mile short of the finish, I think I appreciate that feeling of security and freedom even more. But, I don’t have to think about that every day, mainly because our servicemen and women – military, police, and fire – think about it for us.
In 2015 and 2016, I had the honor of running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC. On my back, and in my heart, I pinned a photo of three Marines who bravely served and safely made it home – all now proud fathers of wonderful children. On her shirt, my pace partner Kandi carried the name of a Marine who was not as fortunate – a man who was killed in action, leaving behind his parents, siblings, a wife and baby daughter.
We didn’t know anything about the man Kandi chose to run for – a sign bearing his name was sitting at the Wear Blue Run to Remember table when we visited. But our knowledge grew along the race when we were stopped twice by women who, upon reading Kandi’s shirt, happily said, “I knew him!” Through their stories, we learned that he served as a linguist, and at home he was the beloved father of a baby. We heard a story about his hometown – a 12-block hamlet in a nearby state.
When our going got tough, and it did during the hot day, we reminded ourselves that we were running this race for those who couldn’t – for the people on our backs and those remembered along the inspirational and emotional “Blue Mile”. Our mantra became “Their efforts will be forever appreciated” and that renewed purpose propelled us to the finish line.
Fitness and Fortitude
Nearing the finish of the Marine Corps Marathon, we saw a paralyzed man with robotic legs taking his final steps to the finish. Alongside him walked two people there to offer support if needed, and a woman pushing a wheelchair in case the exertion became too overwhelming.
It is easy to take health and physical ability for granted. This man wasn’t letting anything – including paralysis - stop him from accomplishing his goal. It was a reminder that we should not either.