“Love was a feeling completely bound up with color, like thousands of rainbows superimposed one on top of the other.” ~Paulo Coehlo
I’ve always believed in the promise of a rainbow.
As a high schooler, I learned that the world was filled with answers to our deepest questions if we kept our eyes open. My family was visiting home in Wisconsin. A huge part of our heart will always be there. My parents lost their first baby. Three months after she was born, they were faced with the unimaginable. She quit breathing. On the day that I learned about the magic of our world, we were leaving the cemetery. My little brother asked how we knew Jennifer was okay, and a rainbow appeared. In that moment, no one needed to answer my brother. We just knew.
Every time I see a rainbow I think of her. I think of the sister I’ve never met but have always loved. I think of the grace, strength and courage of my parents who plowed forward with life.
Last night after work I drove towards the oceanfront like I do every Thursday. I was headed to meet my training team for a fun spin on our Thursday night run. Instead of conquering tempo miles, we split in to teams to race. The inaugural 4×400 was launched. Before heat 1 kicked off the event, a rainbow appeared from behind the cloudy skies. I smiled.
Grace. Strength. Courage.
My team, team #17 (#teamjeck), was in the final heat. I was the final leg. As my teammate made her way towards me for the symbolic passing of the baton, my stomach was filled with nerves. I had 400 meters to fly.
My legs moved faster than they have ever moved since high school, and I think I had a permanent smile on my face as I approached the finish line. I had the honor of being the last runner for all 19 teams to cross the finish line, and all 19 teams greeted me (me! seriously it was a pinch me moment!) with a celebration tunnel.
This is why I run. In the moments when I get frustrated with myself for not performing at the level I know I can preform at, when I beat myself up for missing a run, or when I think it’s just not possible to balance it all, this is what keeps me coming back. The team mates. The cheers. The celebration of being our very best – not tomorrow – but right now. It’s meeting myself exactly where I am at and knowing that it is okay.
Every single teammate tackled that 400 with grace, strength and courage. The finish line was the promise that we are exactly where we are meant to be.
It’s race weekend, and for the first time (possibly ever) I’m taking a very different approach to this race. I’m not aiming for a goal time. I’m not aiming for effort. My goal for this race is friendship. When one of your dearest friends is diagnosed with cancer and is fighting her way through treatment with nothing but grace, strength, and courage, you make life a celebration. My only goal is to keep up with her for 13.1 miles.
“Shine your soul with the same
egoless humility as the rainbow
and no matter where you go
in this world or the next,
love will find you, attend you, and bless you.” ~Aberjhani
I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. To get to do what I love every single day and to get to do it with people who genuinely care about the person standing next to them, love has most certainly found me. It attends to me. It has blessed me.
Every time I see a rainbow, I will smile. I will think of my sister, but I will also think of my family: my parents, my boys, and this wonderful community that has given me a home: a promise that is fulfilled through grace, strength and courage.