Resilience

Restricted.

That’s what I saw pop up on my phone display at 8:34AM. I had just settled in at work and hesitated to answer. These telemarketers call at all hours of the day, I thought to myself. I paused for a moment and then cautiously answered.

It was my running friend, Joe.

You’ve read about him in previous posts (here and here) and by now you can surmise that we’ve developed a lovely friendship over the past year.

But when I saw Joe at the end of August he had some not so swell news to share. He was scheduled to undergo a biopsy on September 19th.

I sent him a card to let him know that I was thinking of him in the days leading up to the procedure. It was one of those notes you hope to never have to write as fear trembles through each one of your pen strokes. But, I knew that there may not be very many notes exchanged from this point forward. After all, you just don’t go for a biopsy at 81 for nothing.

Joe called me in the subsequent days following his procedure to inform me that it went well, or at least as well as a biopsy could go. Results would be available in several weeks.

Several weeks came this morning at 8:34. I don’t know why I felt inclined to pick up, but this universe is funny sometimes.

“It’s what they suspected. I don’t want to really talk about it, but I wanted to let you know that I’ll still be running. It’ll just be at a slower pace than before.”

In this moment, I didn’t know what to squeeze out other than the seemingly obligatory, “Oh no, I am so sorry” and “Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.” Trite, at best.

Our call ended abruptly and I tried to maintain my composure in this open office floor plan of mine. While I was crestfallen, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Here is Joe, at 81 years old, telling me about months of treatments to follow, yet running was at the forefront of his mind.

After a brief reflection over that one statement I knew everything would be okay. We runners are a resilient bunch.

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