My original thought last evening, after rocking out insanely for 13.1 miles, was to simply offer a post of thanks for all of the incredible artists – some of whom I’ve loved for my whole life, some of whom are new to me in recent weeks and months – who propelled me through my second half marathon of 2011. And I still want to do that, because honestly, the music that coursed through me as I pounded the streets of Philadelphia yesterday was a huge part of getting to the finish line with a smile on my face. Music has always fed my soul, and for helping me conquer the Philadelphia Half-Marathon, I do need to sincerely thank these amazing musicians:
The Decemberists; Yeah Yeah Yeahs; Florence + The Machine; The Sounds; U2; Madonna; Funkadelic; Eurythmics; Pink; Nancy Ajram; Garbage; Pure Reason Revolution; Black Eyed Peas; Annie Lennox; Crowded House; Kaki King; Oasis; Zap Mama; Adele; AC/DC; Luscious Jackson; Flaming Lips; David Bowie; Talk Talk.
Special recognition must go to Florence + The Machine, who, like other wonderful things and people of late, came across my radar through the magic of social media. My husband’s Twitter friend and musical soul mate in The Netherlands recently introduced Mike to this astounding music, and Mike then quickly passed it on to me. From the moment I first heard “Lover to Lover,” just a few short weeks ago, I have been mesmerized. I came across a quote from Florence Welch, the main creative force in the act, and when I read these words, it all made sense: “I want my music to sound like throwing yourself out of a tree, or off a tall building, or as if you’re being sucked down into the ocean and you can’t breathe.”
If you haven’t checked out Florence + The Machine, do yourself a favor. Do it now.
So, the gift of music continues. I thank the Universe for it every day.
But it is the season, and as we approach the holidays still waiting for the child we want so desperately to love, it seems right to take stock. It’s all too easy to focus on what’s missing, the family that has yet to be completed, the pain of our wait. But in my clearest moments, I ask myself: why?
Why cry for won’t I don’t have? Why not celebrate what I do? It helps no one to view life as an empty vessel, begging to be filled. In fact, it is already over-flowing with beautiful things.
Yesterday’s 13.1 miles were gorgeous, perfect. My feet beat a path through a huge swath of the city I love most dearly. There was pain. Near the zoo, I almost crapped my pants. I cursed my feet; more specifically, I cursed what chemo did to them.
I also high-fived the Eagles’ mascot on Arch Street, and a giant chocolate chip pancake at Broad and Chestnut. People lining the route read my name on my bib and cheered for me. There was life everywhere. Mike and I crossed the finish line hand-in-hand.
It could not have been more magical. And as soon as it was over, I vowed to run the entire 26.2 mile course next year.
Two runners died at the finish line yesterday – young men, gone in a flash after pushing themselves to their limit. We must never forget how quickly this can all end, for any of us.
So I give ecstatic thanks. For four mind-bending years since cancer upended my life. For my superb husband, who buoys and supports me through absolutely everything, good and bad. For my beautiful niece and nephew from California, who lit up our home for a few precious days earlier this month. For the kind and generous couple from our adoption cohort who have just welcomed a baby boy, and have shown such compassion and concern for our continuing wait. For my ridiculous basset hound. For the friends out there, everywhere, like stars in the night sky, always shining their light.
I love all of it, every day.