Running Through the Crucible

I went for a run on Sunday afternoon to clear my head.  It has been a rough few weeks.  Chicago resurfaced the lakefront trail, and I decided to look up and enjoy the early autumn scenery instead of tracking my footwork.  I fell a half mile later, skinning my knee and rolling my ankle.  Seconds later, a couple of bicyclists checked if I was okay.  They found me laughing.  “What a metaphor?” I exclaimed like a lunatic.

This has been a horrifically challenging few weeks.  There have been too many losses to share.  I’m about one pickup truck away from country song territory.  I do not know the words to thank you for being here for me through this mess.

I’ve found hope in three ideas:
1- The mythical Phoenix disintegrating, burning and rising from the ashes.
2- The crucible, the tool used to forge and strengthen steel with heat and intense pressure.
3- The image of a single green sprout, poking through blackened earth and soot — the aftermath of a catastrophic forest fire.

Each of these stories are about what “can be” instead of what is, taking an undesirable situation and making it better.  Tomorrow can be better than yesterday if we act today.

October is normally one of the most challenging months for me. This time of year marks several unfortunate anniversaries for friends and students who departed too soon.  I can’t help but ask “what could I have done differently” to help loved ones not hurt themselves.

I do not know the words to adequately thank those who have sent kind words, a check-in, or some good old fashioned sass for normalcy’s sake.  I have been a bit slow on the uptake with much of the support, and I ask you to please pardon my processing.  I’m not very good at accepting help.  Yet.
Hopefully somewhere during this process, I’ll learn the vocabulary to properly express gratitude.  Until then, I ask for your patience while I learn to say “thank you” and “I care about you” better.

Once the cyclists concluded I was fine, nutty, or both, they pedaled on.  I stood up and jogged the rest of my planned route.  I giggled while I limped home on a swollen ankle.  I realized that I am going to be okay.

Tomorrow *will* be better than yesterday because of how we act today. 

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