I don’t have to think too hard to have a smorgeous-board of reasons to be thankful…..and how thankful I am for that.
Today, even though my toezes and nozes were freezing cold….my heart was warm in the presence of some of the best people I know. We were all taking care of not only strangers, but one another in the snow, while others did what we love, ran.
I volunteered, along with plenty others, and thought nothing of it. My day smooshed with activities, that may leave me tired, but satisfied and in gratitude of life nevertheless.
The Turkey Trot, in downtown Detroit, is such a high energy event. I love being in the lobby and watching the laughter, the dancing, the serious stretching, and the not so serious costumes. The view, as the sun tried to peak out from behind clouds, was no match for all the snowflakes that had come to give Santa’s landing gear a white runway.
I’m certain as I watched, from the warmth of my post, this beautiful start to Thanksgiving day, that these beautiful fluffy flakes were going to be such a menace. Yet, i was soon to find out just how much of a menace.
En Route to leaving and getting home to make my first Thanksgiving dinner, a quick good-bye to a couple dear friends was to become quite the detour. The stop to say good-bye led to “oh-my.” Instead of joveal laughter and hands up in celebration, runner after runner were slipping and falling. There were even runners falling on top of one another, despite the volunteer’s efforts to point out the accumulating ice. I watched from behind the baracades as another volunteer looked around and spotted a sand bag, desperately ripped it open and tried to break apart, now hard as rock dirt clumps, in order to try and give some traction to the finish line. It was just a moment later that our friend looked up at me, “Can you help?”
I made my way, carefully, to the middle of the road and tried to make my 5 foot, winter coat self, as big as possible. Calling out to runners to, “take it easy.” The irony was not lost on me as I thought about how ridiculous I must look and sound to those trying to finish a race strong……”Ppppplllllleeeeaassseeee slow down” I begged. I looked over and still saw people falling, so did what I could, to break open another sand bag. I think for at least a bit, people saw how serious we were about trying everything we could, in the moment, to keep them safe.
I’m lucky that the worst that I personally saw were some bruised bums and maybe some egos. I saved one pair of Oakley Sunglasses that went flying off a lady. There were plenty of nods and thank you’s….but I’m always amazed at the people so quick to yell at volunteers. I’m pretty sure I don’t get that. I get the importance of a PR. I have friends that put their whole life into their running events, but really? I’m pretty sure no one is qualifying for the Olympics with a PR on a snowy morning at the downtown Turkey Trot as they pass by kids and parents pushing strollers…..just sayin’
And so, I continue, getting help from the camera man, trying to get people to keep going down the shoot, in order to keep the line from getting backed up. I know the Turkey Trot brings out lots of families. Many of these by-standers are just desperate not to lose family members in the snowy and brutally cold morning. I get that and ask them to just step off the road. That is until……a man went down, right in front of my friend, who literally had moments to make decisions to save a life.
I knew the situation was serious, eyes never lie. Without panic, I begin moving people over to get the emergency vehicle through. Again, I know the line got long and people were, for another year, backed up. It’s moments like these that I know you’re faced with the frustration of not knowing what is going on…..wanting to get to the finish and the medal and the warmth……but there is usually always a reason. I think that it is in these moments we are given the chance to keep life in perspective. Realize that all too often we race through that finish line, press a stop button on a watch, barely catch our breathe, and move on. I think the person in need of help was really giving every person there, one last gift.
He gave us all a chance to be the better person.
He gave us a chance to slow down and savor the moment. Look around and take in the beauty of one of the first snows of the season. He gave us a chance to wish those around us a Happy Thanksgiving. He gave everyone a chance to not just give those spending hours to put on a fun, family event for everyone, a thankful smile, but to give a true thankful message. He gave parents a chance to teach patience to their children. He gave adults a chance to model patience for one another. He gave people a chance to really take in the moment of success, that many, have been working months to achieve. He gave us a chance to be appreciative to life. Because you just never know when your last minute is upon you, and I surely don’t want mine to be when I’m yelling at a volunteer (or anyone for that matter.) Life really is short.
And so, with this thankfulness in my heart, I moved on to do my last volunteer act before moving on to be with my friends and family. I ushered up two kids who were getting pushed out by some adults, to get the last two medals that were being personally handed out by Doug Kurtis. I hope that these two kids will one day, look back and realize just how special their moment was. Yet, if they never know, I always will.
And so, I am ever more appreciate of my life, my friends, my family. I am thankful that I chose to live life amongst such a giving group of people and understanding family, who cherish each moment and live like it could be our last.
Groovy Girls Go…….Taking Each Chance to Make the Most of Our Minutes