There is a man who lives somewhere in my neighborhood. I don’t know his name and I don’t know his complete story. But I’ve been watching him for years; and each year, as a little piece of my heart breaks, my admiration grows exponentially. Especially when I saw him a few weeks ago.
At first, I was amazed at how much this guy ran. I’d pass him every afternoon during my daily run, but then I’d pass him on the roads in the morning too – when I was in my car. And then, sometimes I’d see him out a third time. Or did he stop running? Maybe he’d been running the whole time?
I thought he ran a little funny, his body jerking back and forth, but we all have our own running style and I didn’t think too much about it. After a year or so, something changed. He was running just as much if not more but now he was carrying a stick about the size of a baseball with him when he ran as if it helped him to stay balanced.
That was the first time when it occurred to me that he must have some sort of debilitative illness. The thought of that made me extremely sad.
Years passed and he’d still run, day in and day out, seemingly as much as he could, every chance. Then I noticed he ran with a partner and tears pricked my eyes at the dedication and the support his family was showing him.
During this time my kids have grown and passed milestones, healthy and happy. A couple years ago, he wasn’t running anymore. He was walking. And now it wasn’t just his family but some of our neighbors walked with him. Every day. For miles. All year. Still I’d pass him every day. A couple times I’ve stopped to chat because my next-door neighbor was with him.
Then a couple weeks ago, I sobbed. In my car. He was walking; but this time, someone walked with him and he had a strap around his waist that the other person held onto.
I couldn’t believe his dedication, his fight, and the fact that he never surrendered even though he was only going to get worse.
I scan the roadsides for him every day, wondering if I’ll see him again. Even if he’s now homebound, I know he’s still fighting in every way he can.
When I think of never surrendering, I think of him. Yeah, sure, writing and publishing is hard but with the right perspective all I can be is thankful.
This blogfest is to celebrate Elana’s Johnson’s release of Surrender. I loved this story and the characters, Raine and Gunner. In their own ways, they never surrender. An excellent book and I highly recommend.
Thanks for sharing this Laura. That is really a Never Surrender story. I’m posting my story tomorrow.
We can all learn something from his attitude.
I thought of this man right away because there is nothing in my life that took that amount of fight and dedication. I couldn’t even begin to compare my writing journey to what this man had endured. Yes, I have my small victories in life and in writing but nothing that inspiring.
He sounds like a true inspiration. Thanks for sharing this story and how his dedication to keep moving no matter what spurs you on.
That’s beautiful, Laura. Gave me shivers to read it. And makes me wonder if I’d have that same dedication.
Oh my goodness. Tears streaming down. That puts in all in perspective, doesn’t it? Sounds like you have great neighbors, Laura. Thanks for sharing… I love your website’s look. Happy for you, friend. Hard work paying off.
I just teared up a little reading about him. How sad and inspiring and triumphant all at once. Wonderful story, and I wish him well.
And you think of all those otherwise healthy couch potatoes inside their houses, and all this guy wants to do is run. Amazing.
What a story. Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s an important reminder to be grateful for all the small things.
As I read your post I could see this man perservering each day, never giving up, and even now as he’s housebound, I can see him living each moment as a gift. It’s people like this runner who have put things into perspective for me my whole life. Thank you for such a beautifully written post. And what terrific neighbors, friends, and family (angels) who have stood beside this man.
This is such a touching, emotional post. That man truly has an indomitable spirit. What a gift. So sad that he’s no longer out walking/running.
I need to add Surrender to my TBR list. Thanks for this post, Paula.
Omigosh, Laura, that brought tears to my eyes just reading it. What an amazing person.
Ah yes, I get called Paula a lot but that’s okay. 🙂
I’m hoping I’ll see this man, that I just haven’t caught him. But seeing the strap made me realize how much he’d digressed! I think if we knew we only had so much time we could walk or run, we’d be out there too, taking advantage of the time we had left.
I’ve read a lot of amazing posts on this blogfest, but this is the first one to make me tear up.
I also teared up lol
This blogfest is a hankie-clutcher
A true tale of courage and inspiration.
WOW. This was so moving. I’m tearing up too! * grabs a hankie*
Wow. *grabs tissue* What an inspiration. It reminds me that the things I worry about really aren’t worth the bother. Thanks for sharing this, Laura.
So late getting to visit this blogfest but the stories – oh, the stories!!! This one in particular pricks my heart because my dad has Parkinsons and is struggling to continue to walk. He doesn’t have a fighting spirit, he’s almost nearly given up – ALMOST – but just recently he rallied and is doing a lot better, trying harder, exercising more regularly. It’s so hard to keep fighting a disease that you know will win in the end, I so admire those who keep trying.