This morning, as Jenny, Kerry and I ran on the trails, we bumped into my triathlon coach, Natasha, and her husband, Steve. Natasha raced Ironman Florida on Saturday with an astounding 9:29 finish time, did a recovery ride on Sunday, got back into town on Monday, and was running this morning. It’s one thing for me to feel good the days immediately following an Ironman. I put in a steady effort for a 16-hour day, and when I’m trained, my body recovers quickly. But Natasha’s got power. While I’m pushing steadily, she’s full-on pushing – working harder than I probably even know how to work. And she’s on her bike the very next day after her Ironman? And running easily within days after the event?
Seeing her do those things gives me confidence in our training program. It also reminds me how important it is for me to surround myself with people who are doing the sorts of things I want to do in the way that I want to do them.
When I look at the people I spend my time with, I see writers, triathletes and runners. I see people who work hard, who give freely of their time, skills and resources, and who demonstrate a commitment to the communities in which they live. I see people who read, who love to travel, and who are kind and giving of their hearts. I see people who’ve put love and time into maintaining and growing friendships from their youth. I see people who are committed in their relationships, including some who are dating people they’ve divorced and others who have dated their partners for years and don’t view separation as an option even though they’ve never married. I see people for whom it is second nature to reach out with phone calls, text messages and emails just to say, “I’m thinking about you. I miss you. I hope you are well.” I see intelligence, strength, determination, kindness and love all around me.
One of those people just came into my office. I’ve worked for this man for most of my legal career. Though he has a level of personal and professional success that perhaps entitles him to be one of the most arrogant people on the planet, he is anything but. He loves his family, and he gives of his time and skills with a level of generosity that suggests, not an obligation or even a willingness to give of his abundance, but a calling to offer the gifts he’s been given for the benefit of others. And for reasons I may never understand, this man regularly takes moments out of his day to ask me what I’m up to and how things are going for me. First we talk about me. Then I ask him how he’s doing. Today, he smiled and said in his big, sometimes gruff and always charming way, “Other than the ravages of time and gravity, I’m fine.”
I don’t have my life figured out. But I’m feeling hopeful in the direction my life is going right now. I love and admire the people who are choosing to be a part of my life and who are allowing me to be a part of theirs. I hope Donald Miller is right. I hope I am becoming more like each one of them.