Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Enlightening Back on My Feet Moment

One of the resident runners from Christopher’s place made my day this morning. How? He simply said “thank you”. After a three mile run during which he commented on the hills, and commented on not catching red lights (so he could rest), and commented on how just to look at directions we should stop a moment (to rest), he did manage to run the entire distance without stopping. I ran with him the whole way. It was a heartfelt thank you. It reminded me of the many times I’ve thanked others for helping me with my running.

It was a sign of a bond that continues to develop between me and the resident runners. A sign of the truth that I find in so many situations in life—to be cliché, the more you put in the more you get back.

It also reminded me of a Bible verse. This time, it does not come from any bib number of mine. This time, I could (in a stretch) add together two of my two mile time trials to get 25:40. What is 25:40? Well, if we look to Matthew 25:40, we find:

“And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

The resident member from Christopher’s place is not the least of anything. Although if I did not know him from Back on My Feet and saw someone like him on a street corner before he started on the road to recovery, I might have thought of him as the least of my brothers. I still have that built in bias—but I’m learning to shed it.

When all was said and done, he was tired, I helped, he appreciated it and that was that. He showed an attitude of gratitude to me like I have shown a similar attitude to so many others before—brothers and sisters. I hope that others felt as blessed when they helped me as I felt blessed to help Chris.

And, I’ll add one final afterthought. I’ve written before that when all is said and done I think that all social capital is about bonding rather than bridging. Bonding between people regardless of how far the outside world suggests the gap between them might be. It had not occurred to me before that there is an obvious link from scripture to this notion. As Jesus told us that when we do something for the least of our brothers we do it for him,,that, to me, emphasizes that we are all equal. There are no levels. What we have is a need for a mutual sense of reciprocity and we should do for all others exactly what we would hope they would do for us. From helping through a run to saying thank you to any other action small or large.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Get-to's rather than have-to's

Today, I was at Metta Wellness for a post-20in24 massage. This is my third time there and every moment has been worth it. Next month, Sherry gets to go. I hope she enjoys the result of her massage as much as I have felt better after mine.

While I was in the waiting area, I picked up a yoga magazine and there was a lot about gratitude in the first few pages. One person wrote about how much more gratitude she felt and how much better she felt if she thought of her "have-to's" as "get-to's".

I had a moment like that earlier this week. Rarely do I feel that a running workout is a "have to". I enjoy them too much to think of them that way. However, yesterday's hill workout in the heat could have been described as a have to (I still enjoyed it) and even Monday's one mile could have been thought of as a "have to" when I left home. I had run 25.28 miles in three 8.46 mile loops around Fairmount Park in Philadelphia from Saturday mid-morning to Sunday's pre-dawn hours. Drove home Sunday and should have rested more than I did, but really wanted to get back to my Back on My Feet team at Christopher's Place. I sort of felt an obligation after missing three weeks, and I wanted to share stories about the weekend.

When we started, I chose to do one mile. Rarely do I choose to do the minimum. However, my legs were still a bit stiff from the weekend. So, I ran the uphill part of the mile and then went down Cathedral St with a small group. When we were still going down Cathedral, I saw someone leave one of the resident runners and take off with one of the longer-running groups. The resident runner kept going because he wanted to run a mile without stopping. Since I feel that no one in Back on My Feet should ever run alone, even with my stiff legs, I made it a point to catch up to Kani. When all was said and done, he thanked me for coming to run with him and was so happy that he had run the whole thing without stopping.

My "have to" (of meeting up with my team) really had become a "get to" (how often does our running truly help and inspire someone else?). It's too bad every day isn't as easy to see that way. In fact, just about about every day is. Just not as easy to see.