Friday, January 20, 2012

On the Bleachers

If you are in Colorado and the wind woke you up last night, raise your hand. It was outrageous and loud enough to stir me out a Blue Moon beer-induced sleep. I don’t know about you, but when I wake in the middle of the night, there is no turning over and going back to snoozeville like when I was ten years old. My mind starts racing, running marathons of god- knows-what all over the place.

When I woke up last night at about 3:30 a.m., I was thinking about Sherry, like it seems I always am these days. I had read some news reports before bed (never a good idea). One eerie detail really stuck with me. Sherry left her house at 6:30 a.m. to go for a run. At 6:40 a.m. she was kidnapped by two men who had reportedly driven into town after driving all night from Colorado. It seems they were just looking for trouble and Sherry was in the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. It’s almost like being struck by lightening.

Ten minutes. She got about a mile from her house when she was abducted. Ugh.

Impossibly, one week ago we found out Sherry was dead. She and her sister, Rhonda, were going to go out to their parent’s ranch after she got back from her run. How many times have you made plans to do something “after your run?”

The loss of Sherry has made me think deeply about the mark I want to make in my own life.  I ask myself if I am living in such a way that people will speak of me how I wish they would speak of me after I take my last breath. They probably won’t be talking about how fast I ran a marathon or if my abs resembled a six pack. They will most likely be talking about my approach to life and relationships. I can only hope I give them something good to say.

Some of Sherry’s students remember her in this article. She made a difference for so many people.

It is funny how death makes us think about life and how well or not-well we are living it. It also gives us an up front and personal perspective on how temporary things are. It screams at us to STOP WAITING. Life is today and it may not be tomorrow.

Everyday I read a passage from the Book of Awakening, and today’s message rang so true:

The further I wake into this life, I realize the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary. Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond, and music is both in the flowing violin and the water dripping from the drainage pipe. It is on the porch as well as on top of the mountain. Joy is in both the front row and the bleachers, if we are willing to be where we are.

Be where we are.

If being where we are is on the bleachers that hurt our asses, so be it. We need to not pine for things to be different, because as we do that we lose sight of the beauty of the present moment. We all think the grass is greener. Maybe it is, but likely it isn’t. Take a look around. You have it pretty good, don’t you? I do.

How do you want to be remembered? Are you living your life that way?

SUAR

40 comments:

  1. Hi there from Wellington, New Zealand. I've been following your blog over the last few weeks with my heart in my mouth, hoping like hope for a miracle. Your post today really moved me, I just wanted to drop by and say that. This could have been me or any number of my friends. We are all known to go off running in secluded areas, sometimes without even being clear about where we're going and when we should be expected back. None of us really want to admit to being vulnerable, and none of us are willing to live smaller lives because of the fear that 'something' might happen.

    After brain surgery a couple of years ago there was a time I thought I might never run again. Hence my identification so strongly with the last few paragraphs of your post today. Life is what it is. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. If we can find the beauty in the smallest of things around us then we are doing well. I hope you can keep remembering to look for that beauty, and that you can find and remember the things in life that are good.

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  2. Wow! I needed to read that today. Thank you!

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  3. This blog hit me hard today...Thank you.

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  4. LOVE the post. I've been following your blog from up here in the boat for a while. While losing someone you love in such a tragic way is painful, sharing the lessons life has taught us with others is invaluable. Keep walking toward the light. You may never be the same again, but your scars can radiate a different beauty you might otherwise never would have shared with the world.

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  5. You're awesome all the time. You will no doubt be remembered for your potty humor, but your passion too.

    Last week, my 36 yo friend died suddenly from a recently diagnosed cancer. She left behind a husband and child, parents and friends, students and the team she coached. It was a wake up for me that we everything can change so suddenly. And the time to "live" is now.

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  6. What a great reminder to appreciate our lives and blessings! I often think about wanting something, but I have to check myself and realize how extremely blessed I am. Will I be remembered the way I want to be remembered? Something to strive for. Thanks for the reminder! :)

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  7. Just wanted to let you know that an article is in People magazine about Sherry. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20562743,00.html

    Nothing new in the article but I think it is a testament to how much she was loved that her story is in such a widely distributed magazine. --Karen

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  8. It is amazing the lessons that come from these heartbreaking challenges. When we can let go of the anger (which is a part of healing too) if we are lucky, we end in on a path that helps us see the true value of things more clearly.
    My heart and mind are still heavy with saddness thinking of you and your family but reading things like this from you fills me with such hope.
    I wish I knew how I would want to be remembered. I don't. I just know every day I need to make sure I have done what I can to love those around me.

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  9. So true, and thank you. What a struggle these days must be for all of you, you are stronger than you think to turn this into lessons for all of our lives.

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  10. I don't know how others will remember me when I am gone. I've always been a little "unconventional" but, in a good way (or at least I hope). I hope to be remembered as someone who gave her best, who has good morals and attitude toward life. I am none of these yet but I want to be remembered as a wonderful supportive wife and a loving mother.
    I don't know why Sherry's incident hit a little harder on me than any other missing person incidents. Maybe because she is your cousin, and maybe because she is a runner. Regardless, I am still thinking about her everyday and I am hoping that her family will stay strong and hopefully, they will get some form of "closure."
    Just today, I woke up and thought to myself, "I am happy. My life is good."

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  11. i have just recently started reading your blog and then took a little break from the blog world. well, i just read about this tragic story on people.com and then decided to catch up on all my blogs and when i came to your page i saw the connection. i'm so sorry for your loss. i hope they find an answer to this mystery soon so you and your family can finally get closure and lay your dear cousin down to her final resting place.

    thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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  12. I am probably going to a funeral this weekend. There will be hundreds of people there. They will all have good things to say about this man.
    I want to be remembered as a good teacher, mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend. Not runner, triathlete, etc. etc. All that doesn't matter.
    I hope hundreds of the kids I have helped through the years show up at my funeral. That would be nice.

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  13. Im just aching for your loss. It has made me more aware. it has made my husband more aware. Awareness isnt in any way worth the price she paid, but know that Sherry touched the running community and in turn may save countless lives. Hugs and brocoli farts.

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  14. LOVE this. Love this. Thank you.

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  15. Ah Beth....you're the best! I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog. Sherry would be so proud and humbled to know that she's brought so many people together in so many different ways. She babysat me once or twice and then I later had Sherry as a teacher. I still call Sidney home. I am new to running but somehow feel connected to you and your blog - it's like you are speaking to my inner self or something - weird! I'm pretty sure we were BFF's in another life. Like yourself, Sherry consumes my thoughts, even though I can't tell you the last time I saw her...none the less, a very special soul to everyone she met. Anywho, thanks for letting us know that we're not alone in our struggles...oh ya, AND FOR BEING AWESOME!

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  16. My family found a journal of mine from when I was in 4th grade over the Christmas season. We read it out loud and cracked up along the way. In one sentence I said, "I really just want to make a difference."

    What did that 4th grade girl mean? I really can't say for sure, but I still FEEL it. I don't necessarily want/need an accolade, I just want to help people change for the better. That said, I need to do better, to help 'better'.

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  17. I am the same way...if I wake up in the middle of the night there is no going back to sleep...it sucks...I think about stuff usually the kind that will keep me awake and induce ulcers...

    10 minutes...Ugh...indeed...there are no words...

    I want to be remembered as a good mom. I want my kids to remember that they were loved and heard.

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  18. I need to get that book. That passage is so powerful. I'm so glad you shared it with us. If something were to happen to you, I wouldn't remember you for your potty humor, I would remember how hard you work and how giving of yourself you are and how fun you are.

    When I take a look around, I see that I have it SO good. It is good to be reminded to do that looking around thing.

    Be well, Beth.

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  19. I've been throwing myself a pretty elaborate pity party over here....thank you for this reminder this morning.

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  20. Wow, that was a powerful story. I don't have much to add besides it was a reality check and I appreciate you sharing.

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  21. love. I follow your blog and really look forward to reading it. I'm so sorry that this has happened to your family. I really like what you said in this post. I'm going to try my best to "be where I am". It is what it is.

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  22. Sending light and love for healing for all. I think of Sherry often, now. I'm fearful but (hopefully) smarter about personal safety as a result of your sharing this heartache. I also try to live every moment with gratitude for what I DO have, not what I'm lacking. Thank you, Beth, for sharing.

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  23. I read this last night and couldn't post, I still don't have the words that I want to use but I decided to post anyway. You are so right Beth, you have to live. Thank you! You will be remembered for far more than your running!

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  24. Oh, my! When did you crawl inside my brain? No. I am absolutely NOT living the way I want to be remembered. It's been a long, hormonal, cranky week and I regret 90% of it. Thanks for the smack upside the head that I needed this morning. Be where you are, huh? I'll try my darnedest.

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  25. Not sure if you follow this blog or not...

    http://runningjacksons.blogspot.com/2012/01/why-i-will-never-run-alone-again.html

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  26. It makes me sick- the timing of the whole thing. I saw on the news,like you did, that she went for a run at 6:30 and they think these creeps saw her at 6:40...if only she had overslept, or gone a different route.....or was late getting out on the run, maybe things would have been so different. I'm sad at the "wrong place at the wrong time" thing.

    I want to live my life - so I glorify God in all I do and say, then everything else will fall in to place and I'll have lived well.

    Peace to you Beth!!!
    Kelly in Michigan

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  27. Be where we are....live in the moment while we are alive to do so.

    Thank you so much Beth for this simple, yet powerful reminder...as well as the reminder that we are, each one of us, blessed in many ways.

    I often have to remind myself of this very fact, only I just have never worded it quite like you did. My reminder goes something like "Don't worry about the rain while the sun is shining". I tend to fill time with negative "what-ifs", instead of just living in the moment which God has provided.

    I pray that Sherri's family will find peace, and will trust and lean on God for His strength.

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  28. Very well said. Being a former professional triathlete, I always felt there was more and like you said, no one is going to care how many races I did and what times I posted. Too many athletes get caught up in that.
    I would much rather make an impact in other ways and show my children how rewarding it is to volunteer and help others, etc.
    I have a friend who is fighting cancer right now with all her might. It also has reminded me what is important in life. I will take running a shorter run so I can watch my daughter play soccer and spend time with my family rather than having to get in that long run.
    Thank you for reminding us all that life is too precious. I hope your heart begins to heal and again, I'm so sorry.

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  29. Just a beautiful post. I'm so sorry about Sherry. I have shared your blog with my running pals. We are all saddened, angered, hurting and praying along with you. Love to you and Sherry's family, from some far away running friends.

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  30. Ugh. I can't even make myself process this. It touches tender, unhealed wounds from my dad's recent passing, and some personal relationships that are failing. I know my grass is green but sometimes we are put out to pasture and it just isn't The Same Ole Pasture. All we can do is hope it may be greener, or at least it will become greener with time.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Beth. You have a way of writing things that I know we all feel.....

    Continue to see the beauty around you and know you are a part of what is beautiful. Keep motivating and inspiring others...

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  31. There is so much heart ache out there and yes, I am in a good place and so thankful for it. I really wish I could reach out and hug you to help you through these hard times.

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  32. Thanks for the reminder to live in the now. I've been trying to more lately due to changes in my life. I think my one hope is I will be remembered for taking the time to listen to others when they truly needed it.

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  33. This tragedy has hit home to us runners on the East Coast, as well. It is terrible and frightening. At the same time, I think it is amazing how running can unite so many people from all different places. Running is so unique in that you have to be a little crazy to stick with it - we all are and therefore we all care about each other. When something happens to a fellow runner, you feel that hurt, too. You and your family are in our prayers. Keep us posted on how things are going with Sherry's case. I am sorry for your loss.

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  34. Sherry memory still journeys with me. I was holding on to a small hope that perhaps they accidentally hit her in their car under the influence. But it sounds like it was premeditated. So, so sad. And so close to home ...

    And yes, these Colorado wind gusts have really been WAY over the top!!!

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  35. I get reminders every now and then of how precious life is. Every time I am kicking myself for taking things for granted. Life is precious, you only get one shot. We should all live in the "now".

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  36. It sounds eery and somewhat crazy but I write an obituary for myself approximately every 6 months. I want to make sure that what is in that obituary is what I am doing. I don't share it with anybody and just read it to myself and then throw it away. 6 months goes by and I write it again and I hope that it is better than the one 6 months before that.

    My only fear in life is death. I don't want to die and while I know it is inevitable I am not ok with it. I want to live forever and want to see the younger generation grow up and see how they change the world.

    That being said I plan on doing all that I can while I'm alive so when that final obituary is written it reflects that I took life by horns and rode that motherf'er as best as I could.

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  37. Bloom where you are planted....

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  38. Bloom where you are planted....

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  39. What are great reminder to live in the present ... happy. Things seem like they could always be better...but really could they? Enjoy what you have at exactly the moment you have it. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Awesome post! www.dashingdiva.net

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