The room was black as night. I awoke alarmed, not by the clock but, because of the chill in the air. Shivering violently I rushed to grab my favorite robe glancing at the time on my way back to bed. It was almost 8:00 a.m. much to my surprise.
The day was here. An adventure about to begin. Pulling back the shade I was greeted by gray skies and billowy clouds. They seemed to threaten to spill torrential rains at any moment. "Go ahead" I said in a way that suggested the clouds might actually hear me. The wind seemed to speak back in a blustery voice. Its chilling reply unnerved me.
What a change in weather we had experienced over night. A sudden drop like this has the ability to stop me dead in my tracks. But there was no way that I would cave to the pain. I'd been waiting for a very long time for this day.
After reading the forecast I got dressed, grabbed my iPod, and layered a jacket over the top of my clothes. I grabbed an umbrella big enough for two wishing, all the while, for a "girlie" baseball cap. On a day like this it might come in handy.
My stomach churned as we headed out the door. What was I thinking? Will I be able to do this? How far can I go? Will it rain? What will the course be like? What if I fall? Am I crazy?
The brisk breeze snapped me out of the stormy thought cycle. After all what was the big deal? This was going to be quite an adventure for me but when I really thought about it, it was literally a "walk in the park" for most people.
But then again, I'm not most people.
That is what made this day so important to me. After 14 years in a cast I was finally out. To celebrate I'd decided to do something I'd only dreamed about. Participate in the MS Walk 2011. Not just because I have friends with MS but because I also have the disease. For weeks I had been excited but the threatening skies and dreary day were dampening my enthusiasm. They were also trying to rob me of my courage.
I prayed quietly to the Lord.
As we drove to Maury County Regional Park I debated about whether I should pursue the one mile or three mile course. I'm typically an all or nothing kind of person. I'd waited almost a decade and a half to do something like this. But the raindrops brought deliberation. Crutches and wet surfaces don't mix. I've already experienced this disastrous combination more times than I care to recall.
"Please Lord they're feeding hundreds of families at the church today. I really want to give MS a kick in the teeth. Stop the rain. Dry things up. Help."
We pulled into the park. There were cars all over the place. Someone was talking on a megaphone. I wasn't concerned that I might be missing something important. But I did pick up my pace because I was in a hurry to see where the starting line began. Crutching over to the pavilion I check in as quickly as possible unfocused on what was going on. My eyes darted back and forth looking for the starting place and the finish line. I found them to be one and the same.
It had been over a decade since we'd visited this park. A beautiful landscape tucked behind a high school it has it's share of small hills and valleys. For most they might go unnoticed but for me they are obvious. On crutches climbing a small hill is like scaling a mountain. The track they had laid out meant three laps around the mountain. It might as well have been Mt. Everest minus the snow.
Rounding the bend as part of a fairly large group my husband continued to walk behind me to insure my safety. About a dozen people were in front of me. I could see them receiving medals as they crossed the finish line. I remarked to my husband that they most have been the one milers. He asked how I was doing.
The very same question was on my mind. How was I doing? Was a jamming up things or keeping up with other people. He said that I had completed the first mile in about ten minutes. Elation mixed with determination provided enough steam to keep going. Three times across the finish line added up to three miles. For most a walk in the park but for me a marathon. A marathon with a mission to stomp out MS.
I've received a few diplomas over the years. Somewhere there is a trophy collecting dust. In my office an award hangs on the wall. All of these represent significant milestones in my life. Yet I'm not sure any compare with the small medal which I received for completing this course. It might as well have been made out of gold. I cherish it that much.
A walk in the park.
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