Thursday, January 26, 2012

Little Miracles

This is a post I have been meaning to write for a long time. I can't say exactly when I noticed the first small miracle, or I did notice but didn't really see it. It doesn't really matter, because now I know. There are miracles, real miracles, in our lives. Not some hocus-pocus magic acts, not a sleight of hand trick, but events so incredible as to be nothing at all.

You can see them every day. In fact, by not looking your will often recall them after they have passed, even though at the time you thought...isn't this...special.

There are larger ones. I often see losing my foot to be able to run again as something that fits this size. But there are smaller ones, many I have seen, and wonder how many I may have missed.

One happened to me at the track after an early morning workout. As I finished up and began my walk down lane 8 to my vehicle, I noticed small birds on the chain link fence. Not just sitting there, but as I walked they flitted and moved down the fence, following me. There was a connection, a bridge, these little birds following me. I now have birdseed in my backpack, so next time they can have breakfast.

For the past couple of years I have been noticing something unusual. When life took a downturn as it invariably does, when circumstances beyond our reach to change things conspire to deter our best efforts, I knew I could expect something good to happen. Something that would restore my faith. Something that made me think...out of this chaos there is a design. All is chance and nothing is. And if you look and listen, you will be told.


With my recent injury, two things happened that make me decide to write this post.

Readers of my blog know what running means to me. Running was me as a child, I never made a distinction where one started and the other ended. Even now, I can be driving to work, and look at the side of the road, I see myself running. To me running is the affirmation of life, the physical self in flight, pure abstract freedom.

Running is me, I am running.

So now that this knee injury threatens to end my dream of running the Boston Marathon, I'm sure you can understand why I would be distraught. In fact, through my entire amputation journey, I don't think the blues hit me as hard as now. Every day I think of this race, of how it will be to stand on that starting line, how as a runner there can be no higher calling. And how it could end, perhaps because of a miniscule tear in the meniscus. Without a foot I can run, but with a torn meniscus running becomes a thing of pain again, and the joy goes up in a vapor trail.

So I've been feeling down, feeling my fitness slip away, watching much needed training days pass without one step forward. I am very much in a state of purgatory, not knowing what my future will be. I recognized the feeling of descent, growing quiet. Time to listen.

And then last night, as I was preparing for sleep, I received an email. Someone thanked me for this blog, for helping them understand what a loved one was going through. The closing was this: God bless you.


Then today I told friends I was having my MRI tomorrow, and through the messages Carol Kurpiel, adoptive (in definition only) mother of Ashley wished me well. She made me think of how minor my issue was, how any such pain made daughter Ashley panic and wonder if it would mean a complete end to part of her mobility.

Then the second little miracle happened.

One of my Twitter friends, Lori Jomsky, made a generous donation to the IFOPA on my FirstGiving site. This completely overwhelmed my emotions. I had been wondering if I would even be able to make it to the starting line of the Boston Marathon, and here someone without any current posts on my part asking for help, made a donation. It was more than a donation.

It was a small miracle.


These things happen to me most every day. I do not always see them at the time, but I know if I listen, if I look closely, if I remember, I will see them.

You can see them too, these small miracles. They are real, they are not magic.

They are life, and a part of all of us. We can each make them happen, and we can all experience the little miracles that make up every day.

You can make one happen.



  1. A beautiful post and a reminder to all of us to not get too wrapped up in our own issues. I have absolutely no doubt that you will be toeing the line in Boston.


  2. Gabs, I sure appreciate your confidence. Whether I am there or not, I know where my heart will be that day.

    - Richard

  3. Training might not be optimal but not to worry you'll get there. We already bought the plane tickets. :) Love you!

  4. Life is small of small miracles and things waiting to be noticed. Your post was in my reader today, and I am so glad I clicked through to see that you are on your way to get an MRI. Whatever the outcome, know that you, your thoughts words and actions, you touch people every day. Big hugs Richard. And may pain free running return to you soon.

  5. Richard, you will get through this one way or another. I have found over the past few months things most definately do not always go as planned and for those of us who have worked so hard to made our dreams a reality it is very diffult to accept when something goes awry. I have to believe that there is a reason for everything and while I have been pulling my hair out the past few months I know the best is yet to come. You continue to amaze me with your MANY accomplishments and I thank you for suporting me all of these months. You will get through this and I hope one day to have the opportunity to run by your side. Thank for being an inspiration to us all.

  6. Well Jennifer, it I can't run or hobble it then at least we'll have a nice little vacation and get to see some friends cross that finish line. :)

  7. Donna, I know you are all too aware of the challenges that face us as athletes. I love how you will not give in to what is, but work toward what will be. Every day a gift, every day a miracle.

  8. Lisa, we are all looking forward to seeing where you go on your journey. I hope you are able to make it to G2T camp, I just know you will have the most amazing time there. I am also hoping February is the month you finally get through this rough patch and head into the amazing life that is all yours.