Gifts come in all shapes and forms. Sometimes it's right under your nose and sometimes we completely miss the most special ones. This morning I received what I consider to be one of the most special gifts that I could possibly have asked for.
I've really been struggling to get going with my training for the Two Oceans half marathon. This is an annual event that takes place in Cape Town near the end of April. So not much time left! My regular running partner has become so good that I can't possibly keep up with her anymore. After I climbed Kilimanjaro last year in July I have just never managed to get back on the road again, so I really am starting from scratch. I've had a few false starts this year, every panic attack brought on by thoughts of the route caused me to run to the cupboard, put on my running shoes and head for the hills! I've really just been kidding myself though, as allowing two weeks between a run/walk of 5km hardly qualifies as a 'training schedule'!
So yesterday I kicked myself under the proverbial behind and managed to survive a 8km run/walk. Thursday is my hiking day, so today I was supposed to be walking on Table Mountain with my little group of trusted hiking friends. That was not meant to be however, as the plumbing monsters (and I do believe they are universal inhabitants of all our homes) decided that a burst pipe in my bathroom will be much more fun to deal with. A newly decorated bathroom is being drilled to pieces as we speak... A 'gift', you ask? Well I suppose it was a gift of sorts, but this particular one I'm returning to sender...
The real gift came in a different form. As I knew the plumber was only coming at 10am, I decided to tap :) into that new sporty energy that has appeared from who knows where and headed out for another run. I'd been going for about 15 minutes when I heard someone run behind me. I expected to have someone pass me by in a flash and then watch them disappear in the distance. Instead I was greeted with a big friendly smile and just like that, I had met my new running partner!
I'm going left, she said. I'm going right, I said. After thinking a few seconds about going left, which meant an extra couple of kilometers for me, I decided, what the heck. Left it was and that was the best detour I think I've taken in a while!
Vicky and I hit it of immediately and the road just slipped by under my feet as we chatted away. By the end of our run we had decided to meet on a regular basis and help motivate each other, she is training for the Two Oceans as well. So, this chance meeting would not have happened if the pipe in my bathroom didn't burst yesterday.
I was so angry last night at the thought that I was missing my hike today. Who would have thought that instead I was to receive this special gift instead. And who knows, once we get fit enough - we'll manage to keep up with my original running buddy, a double whammy that will be!
Seems like being out on the road really is the place to meet wonderful people. I can't wait to tackle those 780 kilometers in 2012!
As for Jeremiah - in this next extract of his journal he describes a gift of sorts that he received on the Camino from yet another stranger.
Picture: Jeremia Ray
“Did you do much sport? Perhaps, ice skating when you were younger?” I suppose the question made perfect sense. Jean, from Belgium, was performing reiki on my knee. It was late in the evening. A family of Koreans had already retired to the dormitory. Jean was taking a vacation from life. His intention was to take two years and explore. He would do El Camino Frances, head south into Portugal and farther into Northern Africa. We had walked together for two days, but I knew the pain in my knee would prevent us from staying together. He had started in France, carrying over 20kg of gear in neatly arranged pack and could walk 40km in a day without thinking twice. I admired him.
There was a basic level of communication between us. I hadn't spoken French since living in Namur, Belgium in 2002 and his English was of equal ability. He would indicate his ability to speak by mimicking a paddling movement with his arms as though to say “I can get by.” After the reiki session he spoke to me about what he felt. He told me that he can sense an inability within me to trust myself and, when this inability arising, rather than thinking positively (glass is half full) I tend to get down on myself thus placing more pressure on what isn't oppose to seeing what is. He spoke slowly, basic, child French so that I would understand. I did, perfectly. There, in that warm dining area in Estella he had seen a pain that ran deeper than just me knee. He had looked within me and seen the root of it, the cause. I gave him a warm hug that said both “thank you” and “goodbye.”
In my bunk that evening I could hear the others sleeping. The slow, measured breath that comes from a good meal and generous amounts of wine could be heard. I was awake. My mind was racing mad with questions and wonder. “My ability to heal resides within me. I have the power to both mend and heal, to rebuild and save.” My knee, the one upon which Jean had performed reiki, was warm. I could feel a pulsating rhythm within it that seemed to be in sync with my every breath. The warm sensation rose up my leg and created a pulse within the pit of my stomach. Reaching further it crept slowly into my chest and outward to the tips of my fingers. I fell asleep that night at some unknown hour. My mind, still racing, produced fanciful and telling dreams that both amazed and alarmed my being. “My ability to heal resides within.”