“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” –Carl Jung
There have been some amazing transformational moments in my life the past few weeks, all that have happened as a result of contact with some new people in my life. Sometimes, I wonder why I move around so much. Most of the work I do involves traveling to other places than my home to do retreats and teaching. With Team WILD and the speaking I am doing for the American Diabetes Association, I travel. I’m now at home for just over three weeks, the longest in over eight months. I was reflecting, “why do I do this work?”
These transformative encounters with these amazing people at amazing powerful events are why.
GingerViera, whom many in the Diabetes blogger/social media world know, took me up on my suggestion she come hang with several of us Team WILD spectathletes who would be cheering the 11 WILD gals doing Ironman Wisconsin on September 11th. Ginger joined me and Nancy Eastman in over 18 hours of tracking athletes and cheering them on as they swam, biked and ran across the finish line to become Ironmen. There were countless moments, and the one that stuck in my head was watching Ginger on the curb sitting with her cowbell and reading each runners name and telling each one by name as they came by, “Come on ______, You can do it!” The love and support in her voice uplifted athlete after athlete as they ran a full marathon after having biked 112 miles and swimming 2.4 miles. I knew in that moment that Ginger is one of those folks that is for real. Thanks Ginger for making IMMoo a fantastic spectathlete day!
Larry Lowe, who is also active in the diabetes community, is someone I finally met last week at the Saratoga Springs Tour Wrap Up Dinner. Larry is the Captain of Team Red Saratoga Springs in the Albany, NY area. It was Saratoga Springs first year doing Team Red and Larry and his team had over 81 riders on the team and their team raised over $44,000 for the American Diabetes Association in our shared quest to Stop Diabetes. Pretty remarkable. I’ve been Facebook friends with Larry and I had helped him and his Team Red get launched earlier this year, but we had never met in person. Larry is a remarkable man and seeing him and getting to hug him and hear more of his story in person was a powerful gift. I found that I just wanted to listen to him talk about his successes, his struggles, his insights, and I was bummed that the time was so short. Made me vow to figure out ways for our paths to cross some more.
Patti Woodcock set out on her bike as the only gal with diabetes intending to ride the 100 mile route of the Tour de Cure Montana on September 17. I made a point of connecting with her as I led out the riders. At about mile 30 she was nearly run off the road by a semi sized truck. She fell and landed on her knee, so she caught a sag wagon and came into ride headquarters feeling pretty disappointed and discouraged. I happened to be at the start/finish line as she came in and we had the chance to talk. Her courage and sunny disposition impressed me. I reminded her that some days what we expect isn’t what is meant to happen on that particular day and that all we really can control sometimes is how we respond to crappy circumstances. A few hours later, after I had ridden the 12 mile Family Ride with some families and a few 8 year old kids with diabetes, I was again at the Finish Line and all of a sudden, there was Patti again!!! I cheered like crazy and ran over to hear her story. She said, after icing her knee and reassessing, she decided she wanted to go do the Family Route after all, so she did. She had raised all that money and had done a lot of training and she wanted to give it another go. I was and continue to be incredibly inspired by her decision to get back out there and make it happen.
Ginger, Larry, Patti and the kids I met on the Montana Tour and so many others I’ve met this past month and past year, are extraordinary people doing extraordinary things with their lives. I am so glad I’m alive and have the opportunity to count them as new friends in my life. I continue to be transformed by the experiences of friendship. And because these particular friendships that are shared in large part because of diabetes, it makes diabetes not such a bad thing.