I was a sophomore at Kenyon College and something was quite clearly wrong. I couldn't run. I would go watch the cross-country practices and help time intervals. All I could do was watch from the sidelines. This was not right.
After one interval session, we all came up to the dining hall. The team came around me and handed me something, a note. A few years ago I had also visited Earlham College, a small Quaker liberal arts college - one of the 4 colleges I considered. They happened to also be in Kenyon's athletic conference and had noticed that I had disappeared from the running scene. In this small world, the coaches had talked, and the Earlham team, who I had met, sent me this note. They said their thoughts were with me and they wished me the best. It made me cry then and it makes me cry even today. Love one another.
This past summer I was training to handcycle up Vail Pass. I was getting up early to ride. I was exhausted. Work was really difficult. It seemed there was some finger-pointing occurring, and I was somehow a target. So I would come home exhausted.
One day I came home on one of my most exhausted days when I collapse and wonder how we're going to have dinner. That day there was a random letter waiting for me. It was from my high school cross-country coach, who didn't even know about my training for Vail. The card had a picture of a trail, similar to switchbacks we used to run in the mountains. It said "the climb may be steep, but the reward monumental." Tears. I could do Vail (I did Vail!). Good timing. Love one another.
Our family just returned from skiing. Good family time. What is skiing? On my own, that had to be the worst I skied in a few years. There was some ice. I couldn't pull things together. All I could think about was how I needed to not dig my shoulder into the ground, which only seemed to make me dig my shoulder into the ground worse. So I went tethered (always fixes my mental lapses) and did more advanced stuff and had fun. But skiing on my own? No way. Disappointment. Discouragement. My friend Charlie couldn't ski with me either. He wasn't even there the second day and he never said goodbye. What kind of ending is that? It hurt.
I returned home. There was a green envelope on our island, from the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Center. I'm a network leader for them, so I answer questions on the ADA, give presentations, yada, yada, yada. It's this part of my life that I love. But what were they sending me? I opened it. It was a funny card, wishing me well on my surgery. Everyone there had signed it. Guess what? Sniff... yup - tears. Love one another.
If someone sends me something saying hey, if you need help, let me know, I like that - very thoughtful. But these cards - random ones just send to say we care about you - they really hit me. I am reminded that I am loved.
"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another." John 13:34
Thanks be to God.