Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Smile, Wave, Say "Hello!"...it Really Does Make a Difference

Exhausted.  That's how I woke up this morning even after a full night of sleep.  As usual, my ear plugs were in my ears but unlike most mornings,  I didn't wake with my husband's alarm clock.  On a normal day we take on the morning together.  I stagger to the coffee pot with one eye open and one of us wakes the kids if they aren't already up.  I often start with e-mail to a good friend or two and get started on the lunches and he gets three breakfasts ready for our little birds.  But this morning I awoke to my husband shaking my shoulder.  Convincing me that it was time to get up despite how apparent it was that I was unusually zonked out. And exhausted.  But it was picture day.  Picture day!  You know, that special day at the beginning or end of a school year where we make every effort to stop time...capture our kids as they grow so quickly.  Slick their hair back, dress them up in their nicest shirts...everything BUT what they normally look like when they are heading off to school.  So, even though I was out cold and obviously needing sleep, I needed to wake up.  After all, he can't do hair and my oldest daughter insisted on a twisty braid.  Ah, it's these little things that add up, isn't it?

I shook myself out of sleep and very distinct dreams, listening for the sounds of my children getting ready.  I expected the unique full BLOW of a GOOD MORNING from my son.  I'm still not entirely acclimated here.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find that all was calm.  My husband had lunches ready to go, kids were almost dressed, breakfast on the table, my son calm and happy and still ten minutes to do a braid and slip in some 8 year old hoop earrings before the bus came to our corner.

Perhaps I'd do my 20 mile run today. I had no business running 20 at this point but I'm in one of those no rhyme or reason training modes.

So, perhaps.

Once the girls were out the door and on the bus, we had a Jenga game for three.  Knowing that my son needs a little extra attention these days made it easy to put other things on hold. Husband late for work. Prep for a 20 mile run on hold.  Instead of getting things ready for the day or preparing anything, we knew that
And we played a game together.
It was worth losing all the "get ready for ______" time.  This little guy needed the attention and everything else seemed way less important.

20 miles.

9:00 is when preschool starts.  At this point, I knew we wouldn't be on time for preschool.  Definitely not time for a 20 mile run. But perhaps a longer run?  Maybe.

See, that's the problem with not being entirely committed to a goal.  You give yourself an "Out" and it is oh so easy to take.

So, no 20 miles this morning.  But I did get 2.8 miles.  Close to 20 right?
Or not.

Sometimes 2.8 can be even better for us than that 20.

As I set out for my run around Beaver Lake in North Asheville, I was full of feeling.  All sorts of feelings.  Mind full.  Heart heavy but hopeful.  It's been a hard couple of days.  I didn't want to be running  but I challenged myself to just do what I felt like today and then move on with my day.  As I reached one side of the path that led up from the lake, I stopped to take it all in...cool morning, beauty of the fog lifting from the still water, trees reaching up to the blue sky, and the white church steeple contrasted by the thick hills of Asheville, NC.  Right then, right there, I decided that I would work on coming out of my shell a bit more...smile, reach out, wave, share ME.  Perhaps even make more eye contact.  Eye contact is tricky for me.  Direct eye contact.  When I look into someone's eyes, they see my everything.  My eyes speak more than I want them to sometimes.  When I'm joyful, they smile.  But when I'm holding things in, they sell me out.  So, I don't always share them.  Sometimes.  Not always.  Today, looking out at that beautiful lake on this cool morning, I decided to share my eyes more.

As I continued making my way around the lake path, I saw a woman I ran by a bit earlier.  I smiled.  Made brief eye contact.  Then she looked like she was heading directly towards me. I wondered if she would run right into me. No avoiding.  I knew my shell must come off a bit here. A local runner.  Beautiful and kind Laura.  Stopping me just to say hi and tell me that she reads my blog.  "What Blog?" were my first instincts.  After all, I barely write on here anymore.  I can't entirely express what her simple hello meant to me today.  Her smile.  Her words of kindness and reaching out.  This was powerful to me.  It made a difference in my day.  Her positive energy was just what I needed.  It was a reminder of a few things:
  • You never know when someone needs to hear something.  
  • Never underestimate the power of a smile, hello, and telling someone what they mean...that they matter, or how they've impacted you.  
  • We all hold the power to make a difference in this world.  
  • Sharing yourself is always worth it.
  • We often find what we MOST need when we let go.  
  • Never underestimate the power of being true to yourself and speaking your truth.  Chances are, others will be thankful that you are REAL.  
  • Things don't happen by accident.  We are all being lovingly gifted.  I believe this.  

So, thanks for stopping on your run Laura.  Thanks for stepping out of your bubble.  Thanks for reaching out and reminding me that we are all humans in this together.  All craving connection.  All seeking meaning.  And needing/wanting to know that we are NEVER ALONE in this life.  Thanks for reminding me of the value in discarding disconnect and aloofness and replacing it with human kindness and reaching out. 

And all because I was out there running.  
So, I'm thankful for running.  
And the people we meet along the way.  


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  1. It's just so easy to close ourselves off from the world and protect ourselves in a little shell. I do it all the time - scared of what others might think of me (when truth be told that they don't spend much time on it) and scared that people might see that little bit of crazy inside. But I've noticed that it's the little bit of crazy that most people like because it makes them comfortable with their little bit of crazy. So I've been trying harder to connect with people - people I pass out running, the check-out chicks and the girls who make my coffee. And sometimes it's those interactions that make my day.

  2. I love this! Your words are so true. If we put ourselves out there and are friendly to others, we're often rewarded with a smile back and nice conversation. And often we meet a wonderful new friend!

  3. That's why you're an awesome mom and person - you take the time to share with everyone :)

  4. Sending love to you. Very true what you said, "You never know when someone needs to hear something."
    You never know who is watching. Who you are influencing. Who you are inspiring. We need to open ourselves to that. This happened to me yesterday. I had lunch with my former VP. She got real and personal about some things in her life and it was a wake up call. God is most likely screaming to get our attention when we think He is being silent until we get out of ourselves enough to listen to all the ways He is communicating around us, to us. I got my message yesterday and failed miserably with doing something about it. But the sun rose again this morning and I get another chance to keep working. Love you, girl!

  5. We didn't have a HS meet this week; so I gave my kids the choice of running a local 5K or doing a workout. A few chose the 5K, and while I was there spectating MANY runners said hello to me by NAME. Some asked why I wasn't running, etc. What made me feel TERRIBLE is that I didn't even recognize some of them, much less know their name. To make matters worse, one of my XC moms texted me later to say that "so and so" (forgot their name) was talking about me after the race, saying how lucky her son was to be coached by me. It was a real reminder that I need to be AWARE of others and not so self-absorbed! Because you're right; you never know when someone might need that little hello or that little connection from you. Great post, Amanda!

  6. Hi Amanda! Laura is actually one of my running buddies and the person who first introduced me to your blog. I'm so glad you ran into her at the right time. She's such an amazing woman. I hope that I get to run into you one day on a run while you're in Asheville. Keep up the good work and the amazing blogging.


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