Sunday, August 23, 2009

warrior gratitude

what I want to express today is gratitude.
I have so many things to be grateful for that I have trouble choosing a beginning spot.
I could start with cool weather and soft breezes and changing seasons.
or sincere friendships and children and supportive and loving parents.
or health and wellness and optimism.

at times it seems like pure chance, good luck, fortunate circumstances, great timing; at other times it seems to be the reward of hard work, dedication, fortitude, and vigilance.
whatever it may be, I believe I have an abundance of manna in my life.

I don't need to go on and on about this, so I will just take yesterday as a model for understanding the richness and bounty of my incredible life.

I had john who delivered me (and 2 friends) to the start of the 1000 warriors race in comfort and with a huge essence of loving support. he then devoted his day to meeting us at stops to make sure we were taken care of, and cheering us at the end as we graced the finish line with our (especially my) bedraggled appearances. this is a true and loving, dedicated friend.

I had the company of friends throughout the ride, for laughter and commiseration and modeling and entertainment. bill, especially, hung with me throughout the 2nd half of the ride when he easily could have taken off and finished well before I did. when I was struggling to keep moving forward (at 4.5 mph) up the final climb to snowbird, he was there with me, moral support oozing from every pore. these, too, are true and loving friends.

I rode through more than 90 miles of this amazing land we live in: around 2 reservoirs and up 2 glorious canyons, through forested land that stuns you with its depth and breadth, from the outskirts of park city through the sheer walls of provo canyon to the exposed traverse ridge to the base of one of our nation's most beautiful ski resorts. the beauty of this land is endless, varied, amazing and almost incomprehensible.

I finished without a single mechanical or physical problem. I used every ounce of grit I owned in doing so, but every ounce I needed was made available to me. my bike performed perfectly, and my body did exactly what I've been training it to do for all this time. internal reserves and external tools support me as well.

I met a wounded warrior along the way, who brought home the reality of the complicated world in which we live. this man has redefined his life in the past 3 years through therapy and biking. a marine, he was wounded when an explosive device detonated too close to his squad: as a result he has actual holes --- dead spots --- in his brain. stationed at Camp Lejeune in north carolina, he is used to riding a completely different terrain than yesterday's course, but nevertheless he was grinding away at our climbs and determined to conquer, again, whatever was placed in his path. countless others --- most of whom I will never know --- have put their lives at risk, throughout my life, to protect me. me.

a number of cyclists crashed yesterday: one whom I witnessed, many more whom I did not. 3 were injured critically, though all are expected to make complete recoveries without long-term damage. I am extremely relieved and grateful that these people will all, eventually, be okay. having ridden over 13,000 miles in my road biking career of the past 3 years, I am so grateful to have avoided any kind of serious injury. (road rash, small smears of blood and a mild concussion are absolutely nothing.) I must have a special angel taking care of me.
in truth, I do believe this, and I believe his name is joseph.

I could list another 500 things I'm grateful for, but that's between me and my God. each one of us has our own list, though we may share many of the same elements.
running through these examples brought to light through my experience yesterday is enough of an overview of my personal list.
take these 6 illustrations as my small offering of thanks and gratitude, and know that I wish for everyone's baskets to overflow as richly as mine does.

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