Today felt like Christmas.
From waking up early, watching the sun rise with anticipation building of what was to come, to an abundance of presents, each one bringing a new smile to my face and a stronger appreciation of all the blessings in my life.
The biggest difference between this morning and Christmas (weather aside, I suppose) is that instead of physical presents, I received the gift of presence. You see, I met up with my entire running crew this morning for a long run. Since I’ve moved a month and a half ago, I’ve seen different folks here and there, but this was my first time joining on a weekend run with everyone, and in a word, it was wonderful. The group has changed a lot – between the old folks and the new, there might be more members than there are feet in a mile – but everything that initially attracted me to this group is still there. And more than any other group than I’ve ever been a part of, it feels like home. There were so many people that I wanted to connect with and catch up with that I simply didn’t have enough miles to do it all.
I know that in time, the relationships will shift subtly. It’s much different to go from seeing someone two or three times a week to twice a month. When the threads that weave your lives together are strong enough, though, face-time doesn’t necessarily matter. It’s nice, sure, but not always necessary. I know I’ll miss out on knowing some of the day-to-day details and updates, but I also know that I can chat with any of them and start with something as simple as, “What’s been going on?” and I know we’ll pick up from there, wherever that may be, and those have been some of the best conversations I’ve had.
I’ve quickly learned that no two seasons are alike, with new faces, experiences, goals, injuries, and group dynamics creating something new each time. One of my friends likes to call our group a vegetable stew. We each bring something different and unique to the pot. One is no more important than the other, and there is always room for a new vegetable or a different seasoning. What’s most important is that when it’s all mixed together, something fabulous is created. It won’t be the same each time you make it, but in a sense, that’s the very beauty of it. Lives change, people come and go, experiences are shared, and ultimately, living and loving through all these changes is what this life is about. Today’s just one of those days where I’m reminded of this that much more, and it’s one where I’m counting my blessings for having found people who help me to live my life with more purpose, drive, warmth, and love.