I'm counting other people's blessings today.
I ran the Mountain Goat, a ten-mile race in Syracuse with three good hills. I've done it every year for a while. This was a good one, not too hot, no real rain, and a big crowd.
My friend Ben is always grateful that I drive. It's my pleasure. There aren't enough chances to see him and so this annual event is my good fortune. During the first mile, Ben yelled, "oh my God, it's Brian Fay! Everybody, look at that, it's Brian Fay!" And he ran on while I laughed at all the startled faces around me. Ben's comedic timing and abandon, those are blessings.
Another friend, Kristin, works hard to better herself and get faster. Today she beat all her records and ran a pace I can only begin to imagine. She ran with her husband, Scott, who has suffered nagging injuries and illnesses but today was healthy, happy, and ready to run. At the finish, Kristin asked about my run before letting on how well she'd done. It was lovely to see her revel in her accomplishment and having gotten to run side-by-side with her love.
Erin, a friend I knew back when she was a child, has always been able to make me laugh. On Colvin Street, the toughest hill, she pulled away. She just started running but showed how it's really done. I ran six miles with her, danced to Stevie Wonder, and then got to see her flash strength that knocked me right out.
Then there's Chris who ran the whole thing with me and to whom I can talk all day and into the night every day of my life. We pretty much have. He and I just kept going. Not too fast. Not worried about pace. Of our friends, we brought up the rear and that might have bothered me, but running next to Chris there was nothing to worry about and only a perfect morning run.
After mile seven, on the downhill of Madison, my parents had gotten my daughters out of Hebrew school and they cheered and bouncing as we came through. Those girls are happy, safe, and loved. I see it clearly on them. My parents too seemed happy to have the girls with them and under their care.
Meanwhile, my wife was at the nursery school where she works, helping to run a fund-raiser. I saw her there later and it was clear she was in a good place where she feels good and is finally appreciated for all that she is. She's the most dependable person I've ever met and it's clear that her coworkers and boss know her.
We're all blessed. Especially me. I am surrounded by smart people who do incredible things and are my friends and family.
Finishing a ten-mile race is an opportunity to remember what the body can accomplish. Finishing that race and being greeted by a circle of friends is a reminder of what a whole person can do in this life. I was reminded of it today standing with my friends, dreaming of a cheeseburger, and feeling the stirrings of this idea that I knew would be just right to write on.