Everything happens for a reason

Workout:  None

Scheduled Rest Day

This post is a little heavy, but necessary.

This morning I poured some coffee into my favorite mug and went on my business of making my everyday oatmeal for breakfast (oats + banana + peanut butter.) When I turned around to grab my coffee, I found a nice big puddle forming around the mug. Turns out, the hairline crack forming at the top had finally split down the side due to years of overuse and dishwasher abuse.

It doesn't sound like a very sad story to most, but to me this is more than just a broken mug. This is a special symbol in my life, because I purchased this mug in 2008, about a week after the death of my 5-year-old brother, Jake.

I sipped coffee and tea from this mug several times a day for months, even years, to help me get through the hardest time of my life. It became a form of therapy for me to pour a cup of tea, turn on some music, and just sit with myself. Every time I read the phrase inscribed inside, "everything happens for a reason," I would be reminded that Jake's life and death were not in vain, and that everything would be okay, eventually.

Running became another major form of therapy for me in the year following Jake's death. I started with the occasional few miles, which turned into training for my first half marathon. I found that running opened my mind to think about things I hadn't allowed myself to think about before, and it became a critical part of my grieving process.  I even [secretly] dedicate each race I run to Jake, and running with him in mind has always managed to get me through those last hard miles at the end, even when I think I can't go any farther.

Jake and me, Summer 2007

Now, about four and a half years later, I can finally say that I have grieved. I have accepted Jake's death and there is no doubt in my mind that running lots of miles has been one of the most helpful and positive ways of dealing with it. I will never forget him, and I still think about him every single day. The broken mug would have broken me a few years ago, but today, I am happy to keep it on the shelf as a reminder of where I used to be, and just how far I have come. For now, I will focus on another phrase from a different mug:

"Happiness: The brain is like a muscle. When we think well, we feel good. 
Understanding is a kind of ecstasy."

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