“How do you feel?,” was the query the other day as a friend brought me lunch.
“Tired and hungry,” said I, between bites.
Indeed. A minute later, I realized that, along with my sandwich, I had been eating the paper it was wrapped in.
But it has been wonderfully invigorating to have friends drop by to see us. Today was unusual, as two groups came by in turn, shining their light on our lives. In fact, our first visitors were waiting for us when we arrived– the mighty and speedy Steve, and his wonderful wife, Kelly.
Steve is a very good and very deep friend, but an unusual one (if I can say that). We are running buddies, you see, which means we have a rather peculiar relationship. Sure, we’ve talked, and joked around, and done a few social things together. Steve walked me– no, make that ran me– through the trials of infertility, sharing his empathy and wisdom on this difficult experience. We’ve done the odd– make that very odd — running club social together. We survived a taxing run from Shirlington to Reston (DC area readers ought to be raising their eyebrows just now…), and had the dear Kelly drive our stenchy bunch back to where we started from. And we shared the infamous bus ride from Boston to Hopkinton, hung out at the Village, and miraculously found each other on Heartbreak Hill. But mostly, we’ve just logged hundreds of miles together. A million breaths, laced with a few sparse words of conversation. Which has created a kind of cellular connection– I feel like we are blood brothers or something.
It is a relationship that is beyond words, I think. And so it was most fitting that his visit today was quiet and kind and holy. I did most of the talking, as I blathered on about my boy. But, as usual, he took the occasion quite beyond words with his simple yet earthshaking gift to Will: a Boston Marathon medal from this April, along with a weathered running jersey with the name “STAVLUND” penned in block letters across the front. This jersey that he wore in April as he powered through 26.2 miles. The way he wanted to honor our unborn child, and prompt the cheers of 100,000 spectators. The gift he brought today, to pay his respect and spur on our dear son.
A gift, and friendship, beyond words. So I suppose it was appropriate that I had nothing to say. I choked back tears and simply said, “Thanks, Steve.”