Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Full Circle

Four years ago, I lost about 80 pounds. Shortly after reaching my goal weight, I went to my wife’s family reunion in the hill country of Texas. We rented a fantastic ranch called the Double B near Harper, about 20 miles north of Kerrville. It was there, while partaking of the great company and ample food and spirits that always accompany these occasions, that I began to run. For the first time in my life.

I went for a walk one day, just to try and get a few of those extra calories burned. There, on a lonely beautiful ranch road, among the gnarled live oaks pining for the sky, I just felt like running. I’d never had such a novel sensation come over me before. But it felt good and right. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Back then, even though I was a full twenty pounds lighter than I am now, I couldn’t run even a half mile without stopping. I just didn’t have the lungs for it. But it didn’t bother me – it felt so good to feel good again, after years of driving myself into morbid obesity. By the end of the week, I was almost able to run a full mile without stopping.

Coming back to the ranch this week, three marathons later, I remembered the eno

rmously steep hill comprising the last 400 yards to the lodge. Four years ago, I couldn’t imagine that one could be fit enough to run up that hill. Walking it was more than enough challenge for me.

This morning, I had a lovely five-mile run. Although it was already fairly warm and humid, low dark clouds kept the sun at bay, and the occasional breeze felt wonderful. I honestly wished I could have continued down that road all day. It was one of those peaceful moments that come rarely and, for a change, I was keenly aware of what a gift it was. I relished it, stopping often to take in the absolute silence, interrupted only by an occasional bird or cicada.

As I made my way back toward the ranch and approached the lodge, I was a bit fatigued. But then I spied the unconquerable hill of four years ago. I laughed to myself, thinking of how it had seemed so formidable, so impossible, such a short time ago. I attacked it with abandon, relishing the strain and struggle. Thoroughly winded, I rounded the corner and saw the beaming face of my son waiting for me.

You see, four years ago, we’d gotten to the point where we thought having a child was a dream that would never come to fruition. We’d come to accept, on some level, that we would never have a child of our own.

So as I saw Anton’s face mirror back to me the breathtaking love that I feel for him, I felt a sense of things coming full circle. And maybe that’s not even the right cliché to use. But it feels good, so I’ll use it.

Anton took off running toward me, with an effortless joy in his stride. The spring came back to my step, only seconds after conquering the impossible hill, and I met him as he bounded into my arms, the fruit of an impossible dream.

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