I love themes. The theme for this past Sunday was about going the distance—and coming home.
We flew nearly 600 miles back to New York after a heart-filling weekend trip to see Steve’s family and attend our nephew’s wedding. For the first time in the twelve years we have owned our house, our plane took the flight path that goes directly over our roof! How symbolic that at the end of so many miles, we were finally taken home.
There were more miles traversed, physically and symbolically, on this beautiful Sunday. My dear friend Joyce, along with 2000 others, took part in the Walk-Along for Lupus, after organizing yet another team of teens willing to give up a weekend morning. For the first time since we started the tradition of walking together, I was not able to make it. But I thought all morning of the dozens and dozens of people with chronic pain, illness, and fatigue who pushed through those miles with the support of friends and family.
Our local breast cancer walk was also on Sunday, and the Jones Beach boardwalk overflowed with 60,000 participants. Some were survivors. These strong individuals have made it through many miles of a terribly trying journey, and their travel continues.
Just a few miles north, the 2013 Freaky 5K for the John Theissen Children’s Foundation was kicking off. Last year’s took place on October 28, as Superstorm Sandy swept up the coast toward us. That day, I ran my first 5K, after months of training a body more accustomed to stiff shuffling than steady running. I finished that race one second faster than the average for my age group, and I felt as though I could accomplish anything! When I got home, I immediately put my newfound strength to the test, bringing things up from the basement—heavy things, all day.
And thank goodness for my training, as the endurance test has lasted all year! The day of the run—and ever since—my heart was with Ty Louis Campbell, a five-year-old boy who had endured the unthinkable before being taken by cancer less than two weeks before. His fight had spurred me on—as I trained I ran past two houses he had lived in, and breathed to the beat of his name so I wouldn’t dare give up.
Every time I think I am having a rough journey, I think of all those we have walked and run for. I think of all the suffering, all the shoes I have never walked a mile in. There are far more difficult forced journeys that no government loan can speed up, and from which no plane can take you home. This past Sunday, as I traversed five states in just two hours, I remembered the journeys of loved ones: friends fighting cancer, surviving spousal abuse, suffering through terrible divorces, losing a parent, supporting children with drug problems or eating disorders, caring for siblings with mental illness, dealing with alcoholism, challenging infertility, or waiting to adopt a child and living with a fully furnished baby room for years.
Gosh. I am going home. At the end of all these miles, I am going home.
I aim to remember this throughout the rest of my journey, especially when the seventh tire in a year goes flat; or someone loses my inspection report; or halts our progress with incorrectly completed paperwork; or informs us that the water damage is not from Sandy (was she supposed to write her name on our walls with octopus ink?); or that our disaster LOAN is considered a GRANT, which makes us ineligible for the same amount in a GRANT which would not have to paid back; or double drafts our mortgage payment for a house we are not living in; or neglects to pay our taxes—all of which has happened since the weekend!
But I remembered the truly suffering and deeply strong, and I kept calm and carried on. These are just the miles I have to walk, and I get to walk them with Steve and hundreds of supporters. I get to walk them. I am happy to walk them. I will go the distance.
I get to go home.