“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies” -Aristotle

This past Sunday, I set out to accomplish the last phase of marathon training.  I was to complete 20 miles.  In the spirit of “Building Bridges”, which I wrote about a couple articles ago, I decided that making new connections and potentially ‘building bridges’ would be a great idea for this run.  After all, I had someone rather close to me burn a bridge which inspired me to keep building bridges.  It’s the ones closest to us that point out our faults with which we can use our own discernment to know when we need to shift our perceptions of reality.  I heard mine loud and clear and decided to make several shifts over the last several weeks.  And it is working.  I had recently reached out to several friends that I felt I needed to do some bridge repair work.  Several that had been on my heart and needing to be a mend.  I reached out with the intention of opening my heart to theirs with no intention as to how they would receive me.  Except that I wanted to extend a hand, remove the tattered part of the wood that had splintered, and replace it with a solid board that was smooth and lacquered with love.  It was difficult for me to reach out as if the boards that were there had rusted by the nails when I had to remove the nails within my heart that kept me from connecting.  Once I did, and worked with my own inner construction and remodeling that I much needed to do I was able to begin with a phone call to many of these ‘friends’.  Welcomingly, I was received with open arms and all of these friends accepted me back much to my own dismay.  I was careful, with each board that I was replacing, to make sure that I was measuring and fitting the wood individually to that particular bridges’ needs.  Each one was unique and each one had a different feel.  And each one was reconstructed in a different and more loving way.  These friends were happy to reconstruct and rebuild in ways of a new understanding of the expectations within each other.  We had all learned about our different shapes and sizes and where we needed a little more moulding and sanding in certain areas and a loving nail or more lacquer in others.  But now we were especially more accepting that this was a part of life, the ups and downs, the new and the old, and the inner renovations that we all go through.  I am happy to say that these new connections that come from a new understanding aren’t perfect and they are perfectly flawed.  We accept our own imperfections which makes each of us perfect in our own ways.  It is lovely.

On to Sunday… In this same spirit of building bridges I took a chance.  I reached out to a crowd over email asking who was going to be making a trip downtown to do a scheduled 20 mile run and if anyone would like to car pool the trip together.  Not long after a response came in from a friend that I had no idea was even dedicated to running the marathon.  He offered to car pool and extended to join his group of buddies that were running as well.  This was wonderful for me.  I had now reached out and received a wonderful response plus several others that I would get to meet.  My previously anxious plans of running 20 miles by myself in downtown Chicago having to plan logistics on  my own just turned into ease and peace.  They had done this run before, knew where to park, and already had a plan in place.  I could just join in.  Few!

The only thing left was the weather.  In hopes to make our run even easier a nice cool day would be helpful and welcomed.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.  It did turn out to be one of the hottest Sundays of the year in September!  90 degrees running 20 miles along Chicago’s lakefront.  It sounds gorgeous, and it was but after about 3 1/2 hours of the sun and humidity we were all toast.  But I have to say I would not had made this run as well as I did in the conditions that we had if it were not for my new friends.  The conversations made the run seem shorter, the miles past by significantly faster, and the people were all there to enjoy each other and the causes for which they were running.  It was delightful in that respect and strenuous in others but overall the connections far outweighed the perceived struggles.  Like good guys do after most long runs they each cracked open a beer hung out and celebrated there running victory.  I had a La Croix (peach pear) I think it was.  I don’t do gluten.  I was then with them as they had to stop for milk shakes and burgers at none the less but a “Meat Heads” restaurant.   I am vegetarian…so I had some french fries that felt pretty damn good after a long run like that.  There loving harassment of each other over fries, shakes, and burgers was rather hilarious and I think my face still hurts from the smiling and laughter.  The joke was also on me after a while as they became more comfortable with my presence and as I with them.  Really, and truly this new connection based out of just pure enjoyment of nothing but friendship was a great experience this past Sunday.  I didn’t even really care about the run it was the before and after the run that was the game changer for me.  Don’t get me wrong, the conversations during the run were definitely important and necessary for my continued shifting in life and for the stripping away of old beliefs and patterns that have held me back for a long time but it was how these 3 guys bonded and just accepted each other in the ways that humans can just do that really shifted my reality.  It was awesome.  We all had families, we all had obligations, and we all had funny stories.

Thanks guys for sharing your souls that day, the pleasure was all mine.

They definitely helped me see how a friend can truly be a single soul dwelling in two bodies… in this case 3.

Peace out,  Jennifer

Donate to the Chicago Marathon Fundraising for GLASA here:

https://glasa.z2systems.com/np/clients/glasa/campaign.jsp?campaign=62&fundraiser=1608

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