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Accidental life lessons.


I tend to get lost in thought when I run. Most of the time I keep my head down — better for thinking and, since I prefer unpaved trails and can be a bit clumsy, avoiding accidents.

On the off chance I make eye contact with someone, I have a standard greeting: nod, half wave, mumbled “mornin.” Adding a “good” or even a “g” would require too much effort.

A while back I glanced up to see a man directly in my path so I braced for an unavoidable greeting. But as I got within earshot, he startled me by shouting something that sounded like, “take it back from the ledge!” “Sorry?” I said. He shot me an apologetic smile and pointed to his ear.

I now see this guy fairly regularly and he’s always on his Bluetooth. I’ve nicknamed him LC, solely  because the snippets of conversation I’ve overheard indicate he might be some sort of life coach. Perhaps he’s just in a very needy relationship.

The other day as LC approached, it was windy and he was shouting. For once I could clearly hear what he was saying: “I’m sorry, I’m breathing hard because I’m exercising. We agreed I would be available when you need me, and that means I won’t always be at my desk.”

I found out a week ago a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then I’ve been grieving for her and trying to figure out what I can do to offer support. If it were me, I’d want to be left alone for a while to process everything. I assume she feels the same way so I’ve done nothing, which I’m fairly certain isn’t the right thing to do.

I was lost in thought about my friend that windy day when I passed LC, so it wasn’t until well after I passed him that it occurred to me he may just have given me my answer. “We agreed I would be available when you need me.”

That’s really what friendship is, I guess – being there when needed. I’m sure there will be a time when I will make dinners for my friend or bring her flowers or drive her to a chemo appointment. But for now, it’s enough to let her know I’m thinking about her and available when she needs me.

I may never know what LC really does for a living, and I suppose it doesn’t matter. But if you ask me, he’s one heck of a life coach.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/22 10:26 AM

    I love this entry! “…and that means I won’t always be at my desk” I am amazed by how many dads are at preschool pick up. The working world has definitely changed for the better in this respect over the last decade!

    • Jennifer permalink*
      10/22 12:19 PM

      Thanks, Anne — I so agree. I’m grateful every day that I’m able to do 95% of my work from my home office. (Though never on the running trails.) :-)

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