My daughter is a gift. It’s even greater realized on the hard days. I’m not talking about the stinky diaper hard days. I’m talking life hits you in the face with a two by four hard days – or in my case a Peterbuilt truck hauling gravel.
Last week on Monday, my step-father passed away. It was a hard fought battle. Two weeks before that, when we were returning from the hospital with little Mattie Sue, we decided to stop and see him because we knew how his health was deteriorating. Upon seeing her he lit up like a child on Christmas morning. It was a memorable special moment.
Days after my step father’s passing, I was involved in an vehicular accident. No exaggeration, I’m lucky to be alive. The accident involved the 1947 Studebaker truck and a gravel truck hauling crushed stone. Somehow, I ended up on the floor of the Studebaker surrounded by glass shards and a crumpling metal door around my feet. At that moment I thought I was going to die. I did not die.
After the accident, my fiance arrived at the accident scene with my daughter. I crouched over Mattie Sue and quietly wept. I hadn’t really thought about how much a gift it’s going to be to watch her grow and experience life, how fragile life is and at any moment all of this can change.
Days later, I toed the line of the Boston Marathon. As soon as I started running, I knew it was going to be a long day. My body still ached from the accident, and I was unable to focus. I was done at the halfway point but I had two choices. Walk off the course or fight to the finish and risk further serious injury.
Seas of people flew by me as I hobbled along. It was indeed quite humbling. A man on a prostethic leg hobbled alongside me. A man with his arm in a sling trotted alongside me as well. They had clearly traveled a hard road to get to the Boston Marathon as well.
So I dug deep, humbled and grateful to be alive. Thankful to God, and those in my life that are a part of it. I thought about my family awaiting my finish. Life’s not about how you do when it’s good, it’s not quitting when it hurts.
The day of the accident was not my day to die. One day, that day will come. That accident was a violent reminder of the gift of life. To me, the Boston Marathon will always remind me to never give up. You fight on. I was grateful the whole race to feel every moment of pain, because that meant I was alive.
Someday Mattie Sue will likely ‘Google’ her dad and what she discovers will hopefully make her proud. I’m already proud to be her Dad.
PHOTO CAPTION: A shameless selfie at the start of the Boston Marathon with plenty of pain over the next 26.2 miles.