soul alive

August 7, 2012

I am watching the Olympics and like most people, I am just amazed at the athletic ability of those I witness performing at the highest level in their sport. Bulging biceps, lean torsos, incredible strides, amazing flexibility and speed, these bodies are perfect specimens of the human race. Perfect human form.

But my favorite part of the Olympics is the emotions displayed, especially those of remembrance or gratitude. Take Felix Sanchez for example. He ran the men’s 400 with a photo of he and his grandmother, who passed away in 2008 pinned beneath his race bib. After he won gold, Sanchez pulled out that picture, placed it down on the track, knelt and kissed the image of the woman who raised him. That is my favorite part of the Olympics, gratitude and heartfelt emotion. I can admire an athletic body, but it is the soul that captures my heart.

C.S. Lewis once wrote “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” I have a body alright and compared to those I see on TV it is in pretty bad shape. My body has been through a war in the past four years and I have the scars to show it. Despite my four half marathon accomplishments since my diagnosis in 2009, today I can barely walk across a parking lot without gasping for air. My favorite thing of all to do, sing along to the radio, is about as easy for me right now as the Olympic uneven bars. Today while waiting for my daughter at the doctors office I was eying up one elderly gentleman’s oxygen tank, comparing it to mine and thinking his had way cooler features. Yes, scoping oxygen tanks and scooters is my new hobby.

But that is just my body. And while it may not be winning me any gold medals currently, I am neither sad nor angry. My soul lives on, strong and happy and healthy. I smile most of the time. I have long talks with my kids and my husband, and I feel and appreciate every ounce of love coming to me from so many other great souls. Daily, I am overcome with gratefulness and thankfulness for the many blessings of my life, for my family and for friends both old and new who are making such a beautiful difference for me right now with their love. Angels are among me, and with them I sing and dance, in my heart, without a care about oxygen, or lack there of. My soul is alive and well and I am ready for the challenges before me. I can see a door opening in front of me to all of the love and energy of the world and of the universe, my medal stand perhaps.

Know this, after my race ends, I will pull from my bib a photo of everyone who gave of themselves for me and for my family, and I will kneel and kiss it. And I will be happy and grateful for all I have been blessed to know and love in this world. And that is my favorite part of living.


8 Responses to “soul alive”

  1. Kim Mosley Says:

    This, of all your touching posts, is especially touching to me. But why does it take the elephant in the room (death) to materialize before we find our hearts. As 911 appeared to humanize NYC, your battle has done the same for you and those around you.

  2. Betsy Happel Says:

    Indeed, I believe our bodies are merely tools for the human part of the journey, which, in the grand scheme of the divine, is only a speck of the journey. You are Yoda in our midst. šŸ™‚

  3. Ronnie, though we haven’t known each other long your soul will certainly live within my heart. I am so glad to have connected with you and meet your amazing family. Your last post about grandchildren really touched me. I lost my parents 8 years ago and they are with me everyday. Sometimes their presence is more apparent than others, but I carry them with me every day. Bill and I don’t have children, and your post made me realize the other reason why, at 44, my urge to have a child has resurfaced: I want to tell my children all about their grandparents. šŸ™‚ Their amazing grandparents. Your beautiful daughters are so lucky to have a mother as open, caring, and loving as you. Keep on mastering the uneven bars. Hugs, Amy

  4. Jamie W Says:

    I stumbled across your blog several days ago and have been following your posts. Ironically, I am also in St. Louis as well! What can I say…your story has wrapped me in so many emotions; love, sadness, anger…you name it, I have probably felt it reading through your entries. As a mother of 3 myself, I can feel your raw emotions in regards to your children. More importantly, I am truly amazed at the grace that you possess through all of this. What a lesson in humility for the rest of us. God bless you and your beautiful family. You have touched this fellow St. Louisan and mom in ways that you will never know.

  5. Jeanie Wilcox Says:

    Thank you for your writings and thoughts about this phase of your life. When I was 26 my mother died from metastisis of breast cancer to her lungs. I can relate to scoping out oxygen tanks. As I have gotten older I realize how many opportunities for “deep” conversations with my mom I missed just because of where I was in my life at the time. I am now 60 and was diagnosed with breast cancer 8 years ago (am doing well). I now run those conversations we never had through my mind and believe my mother’s soul is providing her part of the conversation. Thanks for the thought and effort you are putting into your legacy for your daughters and beyond (and for sharing with us!).

  6. jlze Says:

    Ronnie, I’m with you … the Olympic athletes with big hearts and loving souls inspire me to remember – and be grateful for – all those who have shown me how to live with love and grace as I chase my dreams. You, dear friend, are just such a soul. Thank you so much for writing and sharing your journey. Love you, RG …

  7. Charli Says:

    your name will be on more race bibs than you can count Ronnie. you are a champion to so many of us.

  8. Heather Says:

    Hi Iā€™m Heather! Please email me, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)

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