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February 27, 2009

THE RAINBOW AT THE END OF THE STORY

For privacy's sake, I'm going to be as vague as possible in this post. Here goes:

A few months ago I met a really really nice person. I couldn't figure out why I was drawn to her, but I was. I even told Troy how easy it was to like her. She is always chipper, upbeat, and has one heck of a great personality. She's just one of those likeable people. Not so nice that you vomit a little in the back of your throat, but not too mean that she wouldn't feel bad about snitching on you for trying to pull one over on our trainer.

At any rate, she and I starting chatting with her the other night. Discussing foot injuries, my numerous running injuries, and all around general health issues. One thing led to another and I found myself being wound down this path of torture, pain, and general anxiety. It wasn't me. It was her. And the description of a medical issue that she had, which had over time escalated into several more severe medical issues. It was a gruesome tale of what she had been through. I was totally and utterly shocked at everything she was saying. It was like I was watching a really scary horror movie, but that I actually knew the person in it.

I must have maintained a shocked look on my face because she kept saying, with that super-smile she always has, "really, this story has a rainbow at the end."

And then she'd start telling me about how this complication lead to that complication...and I just kept thinking "does this woman really know what a rainbow looks like?!?!"

She finally finished her tale, and yes, there is a bright beautiful rainbow at the end. She was right. But, what she didn't tell me in the beginning is that she hasn't gotten to that rainbow yet. She's got months more work to put in before she can get to that rainbow.

But yet she's ecstatic NOW. She's got such optimism that I think in her mind she already sees that rainbow. This woman shows up religiously to our class. She does everything that she's asked to do, even if it's hard. She never quits and yet, she has every reason in the world to pack her stuff up and go home. She's in there pushing herself to the same limits I am, yet she's got problems that I could never dream of having.

And, to top it all off, she does every bit of it with a smile on her face.

I left class that night wondering how she got that sortof attitude. How could she, against all odds, get out there and do it each and every night. And of course, I started to think about myself. And the stress that I put myself under each and every day for reasons that are completely ridiculous. I bet that this woman would give anything to be rid of her illnesses and be in my completely healthy shoes. And at the same time, I couldn't even imagine being in HER shoes.

I realized that she has a lot of respect for herself. She respects herself so much, that despite what life throws her way, she's not going to get bent out of shape and cry "woe me." And it made me realize that I am not respecting myself the way I should. Sure, I eat right, exercise, don't do drugs, yadda yadda yadda. But really, do I respect myself enough to let it go? To stop getting stressed out over things I cannot change? Or to stop adding things to my plate when I know I don't want to do them in the first place? Do I respect myself enough to say "if I were in her shoes, would I, or could I, see the rainbow at the end?" I'm not sure that I could answer yes to that last question. And that terrifies me.

Now is the time to change. To find my rainbow at the end of each and every day.

I have alot of respect for this woman. More than she'll probably ever know. I'm so glad she shared her story with me, and I'm glad I got to share it with you.

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