while her surgeries and chemo treatments are now behind her, i often find myself back in front of my laptop viewing a series of pictures i made on two separate evenings back in February, 2012. i’m not sure what keeps drawing me back, really. perhaps they remind me how amazing my family is when i foolishly get annoyed with them for petty things, or how incredibly strong Stoob is. maybe when things aren’t fantastic or i need to find that extra strength to push me through, these images provide that little push to get things back on track. or it could simply be that they help me remember it’s ok to sometimes smile when life throws you a total shit situation. and while i don’t think i’ll ever know exactly why they always seem to help, they never fail at bringing me comfort.
until this past week, i’ve never thought about sharing them. it’s not that i made a conscious decision not to; i just never did. but a few days ago, someone asked me what pushes me to live the life i do – in her words: training so goddamn hard, traveling to far away places to help others, constantly striving to better myself in any way possible – and like you do, i gave a fairly generic answer about wanting to be healthy and live a happy, fulfilling life. she agreed, but said this:
“there has to be more to it than that. we all want to be healthy and do our part to make the world better, but we don’t train 20 hours a week or hop on a plane and fly to the other side of the world to do it. so give me a real answer, and cut out the bullshit.”
i thought about her response for a few seconds, but all i could do was return a silent glance back in her direction. the thing is, i couldn’t find the words to answer her. i still haven’t. while being healthy and following the desire to help others does push my life in it’s current direction, she was right. there is more. and while this will likely make no sense to anyone but me, i think the following pictures are that ‘more’ she was getting at. to me, they say that life is wonderful and fragile at the same time. that we can find beauty in terrible times and survive those moments to become stronger, wiser, and more aware. that we need to cherish what’s really important, telling those loved ones how much they mean in our lives every chance we can. and that as human beings, we are capable of some pretty amazing things.
like the pictures of my mom and Elly on my bike handlebars do in all my training rides and races, these will be playing through my mind next weekend at Ironman Madison, or this fall when i find myself utterly disheartened when faced with poverty and sorrow overseas. and like they always have done, i’m sure they’ll help me find a way through the tough stuff.