The Gift


I have read and heard people say over and over “whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger”.  I don’t know if I believe that.  But, I can say for sure whatever doesn’t kill you will leave you with a scar.  How you decide to deal with that scar is up to you.

I have a lot of scars.  Physical scars and emotional scars.  Here is a breakdown of just some of my physical scars.  The more obvious ones are as follows:

I have a scar on my forehead from chicken pox when I was a kid. A scar over my eye from a fight I got in when I was in high school. A bunch of scars on my legs and arms from running through the woods and building barb wire fences. I also have a significant scar on my stomach from surgery when I had one meter of my small intestine removed thanks to my Crohn’s disease. Oh yeah, I also lost a front tooth form a stupid night out when I was in college.

My emotional scars run deep.  They are hard for me to list but I will do my best.  Ready? Lets start the list:

I have emotional scars from being a fat kid who was lonely and sad.  I was very introverted and painfully insecure. I was always told I was smart but still to this day I don’t think I am that bright.  Boys are supposed to love sports but as a kid group sports didn’t come easy to me.  This is probably why I gravitated to individual sports like cycling, swimming and running.  I still played team sports but I never loved them and to this day I still don’t.  I remember playing goalie in soccer cause I was the fat kid and in the late 70s and early 80s that is where the fat kid went.  As I got older I got fit and I learned my way and started to focus on girls.  Girls were tough to learn about as a young man.  I got my heart broken a few times and then I got cold hearted promising myself to do the heartbreaking and not get heart broken again.  I probably missed out on a lot of great opportunities because of this attitude.

I remember I went to college cause I didn’t want to work and I didn’t want to join the military. little did I know at the time that the military is work! College was fun (as it should be). But, I was there with out direction.  I bounced from major to major class to class from girl to girl and party to party.  Eventually I picked a major for probably for the worst reasons ever.  I picked my major because I only needed to take one math class (about 15 years later I took college algebra and loved it) and at that time I loathed all forms of mathematics.  As it turns out I did pick a great major for me but sadly I have yet to ever use my degree.  I would love to get a recreation management job but right now I settle for coaching all sorts of sports.  When I was in college I made some incredible friends who I miss dearly.  I even met the woman I ended up marrying and having a great child with.  But as with all things in my life college ended, I lost touch with friends and my marriage fell to pieces. However, (thankfully) my daughter is still in my life and we have a great relationship.

During that time after college I worked various sales jobs but settled with a military career.  The Air Force moved me all over the world and gave me a hand full of all expenses paid trips to horrible places.  I was in the Air Force for 8 years when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.  After my diagnosis I had a meter of my small intestine removed and I was retired from the Air Force.  I got a job with the DoD and I was doing pretty well when I settled in Florida.  The bad news was my job was awful and upon recommendation from my Dr. I quit my job and todayI find myself at a precipice.

Now I sit back and I think to myself where do I go? What should I do?  The answers are obvious…  I move onward and upward.  I take the road less traveled.  I don’t know if I am stronger but life has not ended.

I am now taking the time to think what do I want to do with my life? I have Jordan in my life and I don’t waste our time together. I have a new girlfriend who I try to always have fun with.  Instead of having a midlife crisis and buying a Porsche (which I almost did a few months ago). I do volunteer work, I challenge myself physically. I go on long runs and I go on short runs.  The one thing all my runs have in common are that they are slow.  I just don’t have the gift of speed.  Today I went 4 miles and it was painful for me. I didn’t have energy and I was breathing hard my muscles were straining and I felt weak.  I could tell my Iron and B-12 were low (thanks Crohn’s disease) as usual.  But I used that as an excuse tonight to get a Big juicy burger.  I have a goal of completing a half marathon in a about 1 month and 2 days.  I just hope I feel better than I did today. Even if I don’t feel better I refuse to quit and I’ll walk it if I have to. My runs make me feel better (even when I struggle) about myself.  They remind me that my disease has not beaten me.

I have a great friend (alice) and she motivates me. I am inspired by her running.  One day she mentioned that she was nursing a running injury and she told me to run an extra mile for her.  Every time I struggle I remind myself that plenty of people are not capable of running and I should go a little harder or a little further for them.

Everyday I wake up with sore muscles It reminds me I am alive and that I refused to waste the gift.



About josh29152

I am a divorced Dad who found myself running and raising my daughter. I served in the USAF for 12 years and I was medically retired after being diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Living all over the world has provided me with some fabulous experiences. Since my divorce I have settled in Florida. I love the warm weather but I am not much for the culture. I am coming to grips with past, while looking for direction for my future.
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