Saturday, October 4, 2008

So I Think I've Got Problems?

“Hi… I found… found you guys online and I was wondering if I could run with… ya… you?”

Every few months, a newcomer shows up for our Saturday morning marathon training group. But there was something very unusual about the young lady who joined us this this morning.

“My name is K… K… Ki… Ki … Kim.”

She was about 30, looked to be in good running shape, and beamed a big, friendly, and outgoing smile.

And, as we all soon realized, she had a serious speech disability.

Along Ocean Boulevard on Boca Raton, we have our routines. We chat as we run, and the conversation flows quickly and easily.

But now, every time Kim had something to say, it was turning into a 30 second episode.

I began rooting for that one final word to come out… you almost want to shout it out… help her along. But you don’t. And after a while, it can get just a little bit "uncomfortable".

We had a nice run. But afterwards something was bugging me. That's when I started thinking about it all.

Uncomfortable? I was uncomfortable? The nerve of me!

What about Kim!?

Every day, every hour… every conversation, every confrontation, every chance meeting… the simplest dialog must become an incredible challenge. Filled, no doubt, with stares, strange looks, sometimes, no doubt, even ridicule.

How brave she must be to live that life, and to then come out and meet a group of 10 total strangers, smiling and telling light-hearted stories the whole time. What courage!

Shame on me for my self-pity when I whine about my trivial little “problems”. My issues don’t amount to a hill of beans compared to the millions who face real difficulties and challenges, many of them far tougher than Kim’s.

The next time I’m feeling down, I’ll think about Kim and thank my lucky stars for inspirations like her.

And I'll hope that should I ever face such challenges, may I be able to summon up Kim's kind of courage.

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