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That Winding Path of Life

The path of life does funny things and the last year has taken me on quite the journey!

There's all those old sayings aren't there?

"When one door closes, another opens"
"If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger"
"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things"
And my favorite: "Everything happens for a reason"

I believe that last one and here's why:

A year ago this time, I had just filed for divorce. My world was imploding. My heart was hurting and my head...well I can't remember where it was. When I heard a friend of mine was going to be doing a marathon with The Kyle Pease Foundation in one of my favorite cities, Washington, DC, I saw an opportunity to get out of my house and away from the pain.

That weekend, where my only plan was to hold up a poster board with something like, "Don't Shit Yourself, Mike!", ended up being one of the most eye opening and soul nourishing weekends of my life. Before that weekend, I had never really been around anyone with a disability, so I was pretty reluctant and a little scared. I ended up spending 3 days immersed in a foreign world and I'm so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone.

It started on a plane trying to feed THE Kyle Pease a Subway sandwich after only meeting him for the first time ever just 45 minutes prior. That was a borderline disaster, but he was so gracious. Although this was very clearly my first rodeo, it wasn't his and he made a very uncomfortable situation (for me) better. Especially when he just told me to give up because it was not going well. Have you ever tried to feed an adult human being an airport made Subway sandwich on an airplane?! Try it. It's the ultimate trust exercise.

Once in DC, we made it to our hotel and the wine started flowing. If you know me, you will not be shocked by this fact. Before the wine REALLY started flowing, a mom I had met briefly once before arrived with her son, Noah, in the car. I asked what I could do to help thinking I'd bring in bags or whatever, so I was shocked (and nervous) when she asked if I would sit with him in their room while she got settled.

I remember sitting in that hotel room with this child who I'd never interacted with and all I could do was talk. I had no idea, at the time, whether he understood what I was saying. I don't remember what I said to him, but I remember how it felt when he smiled. I can't tell you why or how, but that quiet, tiny moment burst my heart wide open. I didn't say anything to anyone as we sat downstairs getting to know each other while I drank my fair share of red wine on an empty stomach...

I spent the rest of the weekend watching these incredible people being pushed by other incredible people on a course lined with incredibly attractive marines. To say it was a good weekend is an understatement.

I got back to Atlanta and thrown back into my muddy life and all I knew was that I wanted to be a bigger part of this family I had found. I sort of forced my way in, but they welcomed me (and continue to do so) with open arms.

This weekend, we go back to DC and this time it's a little different...I'm not nervous. I'm excited! I'll be with my friends who, while they may not realize it, continue to inspire me daily. Especially in the darkest of moments. I get to celebrate a year of incredible experiences and new friendships. And I get to watch new athletes as they feel all the feels of a first time event with us.

My path is bumpy and winding and sometimes I'm up to my eyeballs in mud, but I'm learning how to navigate it all. I've learned that if I take a deep breath and step outside of what feels safe, I can find such beauty in this life. And that makes all that pain worth it.

Wish us luck as we support some awesome marathon runners this weekend! #MCMKPF16!!!

And, if you want to learn more about The Kyle Pease Foundation, shoot me a note or visit their website HERE.


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