I had this blog all written in my mind the other day. I was half way into my 6 x 1000meter hill repeats. Sweat was pouring off my forehead in droves, stinging my eyes and making me beg for mercy. My legs were aching, and the sun rising slowly in the sky overhead as I felt every muscle scream out for me to stop doing what I was doing.
However, that all seems pretty far away now. Since then, I’ve hoped on a plane to Tampa, did a sales presentation to about a hundred people, squeezed in another run in the blistering heat and then attended a Tampa Bay Rays game alongside my co-workers and new possible customers.
When we walked out of the stadium a dismal gloom hung over the crowd. It was as oppressive as the heat of the evening. The rays lost to the Red Socks, and no one seemed very happy about it at all.
The traffic was moving slowly and I was staring out the window as we passed by the stores and shops in a series of traffic lights. While stopped at one of the lights, I noticed something moving under one of the shop porch like roofs lite dimly by a single yellow light. It was a man. He was older, probably in his late fifties, and he was in a wheelchair. Around him stood a few plastic bags propped up against his chair. His clothes were torn and tattered, but his eyes were soft and gentle as he used them to trace the cars going by.
We were there for almost a full minute, stopped at the light, while I watched him. He wasn’t able to see me through the jet black excursion with tinted windows and shiny chrome. We even had a driver that had picked us up at the hotel and drove us to the game so we could avoid the hassle of pre- and post- game traffic. Everyone in the car with me seemed to melt away as I stared at him intently trying desperately to somehow “feel” his story through the tinted glass. I held my hand up to it to try harder. Why was he there? Did he have family somewhere? Why wouldn’t they come and help him? Was that everything he owned in those bags? Would he sleep there in the wheelchair all night? What kind of calamity brought him to such a place that at his age he seemed to have nothing but the clothes on his back?
In an instant, we started pulling away and I touched the glass without receiving answers to even one of my burning questions. I was left with nothing except a longing sensation to find out more, and the bitter taste of my own selfishness in my mouth.
My thoughts about the man went on even after arriving back at the hotel. I wished somehow I could find my way back there, but what would I say anyway? Maybe I just wanted to talk for awhile. Put some of my crazy thoughts to rest. Give him all the cash I had and hope it might help him in some way. Any small attempt I would make would just be a drop in the bucket I thought…and I remembered that I said a prayer for him, his safety and his health, and sometimes that’s all you can do.
So, all of my blog posts about not being happy with my swim during Columbia, or about my hill repeat workout in the cool morning air just disappeared into nothingness.
I decided to write this one instead. In that one moment I realized just how good I had it. How if something bad happened to me I would have people around me in an instant, helping me up, taking my hand, leading me home, and taking care of me. How lucky am I? How fortunate to have had a life that has given me the chance to go to college, compete as an athlete, have a career that lands me in the back of a black shiny car that takes me to professional baseball games and affords me the chance to travel and live my triathlon dreams.
So, I think I’ll just save that blog about how coming back this year after injury has been a bit harder than I thought for another time. Or that blog how I’m frustrated and that I’m not quite having the races I would like so far, well it just might just never get written.
I’m training to the best of my ability, and I’m dang happy to be able to swim, even if it isn't as fast as I would like. I’m so very blessed to be competing and traveling and giving it my best when I can… and I think I’ll just focus on that for now. Forget that blog about trying to have a come”forward” year (that’s better than a come”back” year as far as I am concerned).So, don’t look for that blog anytime soon. It might just not be written. For now, let’s count our blessings, live every minute, be thankful for what we have, and say a prayer for that man, that women or whomever has had it a lot rougher than any of us.