Slice of Life - Life as a Marathon Not a Sprint - #slice2014

Last summer, I was hoping to participate regularly in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers.  Then life got in the way.  I am hoping to post regularly.  I will take it one week at a time.  If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here.

On Sunday night, I returned from a two week stay in Connecticut with my family.  I texted a very dear friend to say that I was back.  She texted me to say her husband was once again in the hospital.  This was the fourth hospital crisis since early October.  When the first medical emergency happened, I thought to myself - "We need to think of this whole thing as a marathon and not a sprint." My friend's husband was going to be facing a long journey back to well-being.  And life would not be the same.

Initially, there was a huge out-pouring from their friends, their church, the soccer team he coaches, and their youngest daughter's school friends' families.  As people, and as a society, we want to help and be supportive.  Most people are quite compassionate and gracious.  However, we often want things to be resolved quickly.  Our lives are busy.  We do not want things to be any more complicated than they already are.  Friends have continued to pray daily for this family, and though many within the community continue to be present when they need help, most people need to realistically return to work or their daily lives.

This brings me back to the idea of a marathon.  Though I have never completed a marathon, I have walked two half marathons.  When I signed up for the first half marathon, I trained with a friend who wanted to celebrate her first anniversary free of cancer by walking a half marathon.  We participated in a training program and soon connected with two other women.  We walked together every Saturday morning leading up to the half marathon.  And when the actual day arrived, we encouraged each other all the way to the finish line.

Life just like a marathon (or a half marathon) requires a support team that trains with you.  The people who walk beside us, up and down hills and cheer us on week after week.  Sometimes just knowing you have people on your support team who are depending on you helps to make sure you show up.   These are the people that stick with us from beginning to end through blisters, and sore muscles, and crabby attitudes.   

Support, also, comes from completely unexpected places.  At one point in the race, I noticed a young woman run back through the runners and walkers.  It seemed odd but soon I realized that she was a team coach and was running back and forth to encourage team members to keep going.  Even though I wasn't on her team, it didn't stop her from encouraging me as well.  At mile 9 when you see that the so-called little hill is actually a one mile incline, every positive encouragement from anyone is helpful.  Additionally, those dear folks in the crowd who encouraged runners and walkers that just around the bend was the last 400 meters and it was all down-hill were also life-savers.   These are the people in life who come and go at just the right moment.

In real life, do you have a support team who shows up whether it is sunny or rainy?  I have tried to be that support team to my friends who are going through this particularly challenging time.  It hasn't always been easy, but it has been completely rewarding.

In real life, do you recognize those that are sent to you at just the right moment to encourage you up those unexpected hills or that shout that the end is near? My friends have seen this kind of support in many of the nurses and doctors that they see regularly and in the friends who may not be able to show up weekly but who are able to "run up that hill with them" or "shout that the end of the race is near".  Some of this support has come in the form of meals, or child care, or rides for the kids to school.

As my friend's husband is facing a new surgery, I know that I am in this one for the many miles or the long haul.  I am also thankful that I have people in my life who are there for me as well.

So, who is on your support team?