September 19, 2014: I’m Alive

I’m alive.

It may seem obvious. As obvious as the fact that anyone reading this shares my condition.

But it’s not.

To be alive is to be more than simply a creature that eats, sleeps, and breathes. To be alive is to embrace life, knowing that our continued existence is by no means guaranteed. Not for a single day or hour. To be alive is to not be afraid to take that extra step. To love, sing, run and take advantage of all of life’s possibilities.

Last night/this morning I joined friends and hundreds or runners from all over Israel as we ran through the night in the Judean hills. To me and many of my friends, it was not about competing. It was about running up mountains and down valleys, through forests and along paths. Running in the heat of the afternoon and the cold of the middle of the night. Running for hours, together as we shared stories of what was going on in our lives.

You see other runners who you have never met and give each other that special nod of the head that acknowledges common insanity. You put together prayer groups out in the fields while you take a pause in between runs.

It’s not an easy thing at all, but that’s precisely what makes it special. Ironically, the more pain that we experience, the more that we appreciate everything else in life.

I remembered one of trails we ran along as the spot where last year I fell and wanted the ground to swallow me up. As hard as the run was back then, it was much better than the reality I faced on a constant basis. The days leading up to Rosh Hashana were a blur, as were the holidays. Chag Sameach? (Happy Holidays?) No, we weren’t even close.

But now things are different. As I continue to run through life, I choose to go where there is a sense of adventure. Where I can feel my heart beat and look around each corner with wonderment and awe.

And as I continue running and living, I do so with complete faith that I have someone in heaven looking down on me and cheering me on. And someone here on earth too.

Shana Tova. May everyone have a happy year, full of health, good news, and as many adventures as possible.

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