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Running Gave Me Time

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wednesday I decided to run down the pedestrian/bike trail not too far from house. I needed to get some hill training in, and I didn't feel like hopping on my bike or driving to the park to do that. I figured I could just run the overpasses on the local trail to build that intensity in. The newest and closest overpass opened just a few months ago. I'd biked over it once, but this was my first time running it.

After running it twice, I discovered that MapMyRun didn't know it was yet an open trail and it freaked out. Guess it thought I was running in NoWhereLand, and it shut down. Later in the day I gave MapMyRun feedback that the trail was real and to please activate it on their site. Hope that comes soon!

I ran on to the next overpass and got some nice momentum going. Saw a friend biking with her son on the way to the high school. Got me thinking about her church and how they've got a lot of cyclists and triathletes; mentally coined the phrase "they put the TRI in trinity." Well, before I'd hit the 2nd overpass, I'd seen a homeless man sitting on a bench with his bike next to him and some gear. I was thinking about him on my way back over the overpass, and I felt a nudge to pull the earbuds off to be open to possibilities. When I got up to him, I asked him if he wanted a cup of coffee. At first he said yes, but then he realized he had a big bag of aluminum cans he needed to cash in on before he'd be hitting any coffee shops.

We talked about all sorts of things in just a few minutes. How taking aluminum cans from people's recycling bins was illegal. Companies he'd worked at. He was a Vietnam vet and that my uncle died there. How he's usually up by 4:30 in the morning because it's safer. He's waiting for a replacement driver's license because next month he'll qualify for more state support and that will improve his level of homelessness. How he knew some people on staff at the campus where my church is. When we were done, I put out my hand to shake his, and told him my name was Karen. He said his name was Lee.

I wanted him to have positive human contact. To just talk about whatever. And I shook his hand very intentionally. We all need that physical touch sometimes.

As I hit the road again, I got back to thinking about that cup of coffee I couldn't give him. I had an Aha moment when I recalled that my coffee place offers free cups of coffee when you buy beans; I often have had enough coffee for the day, so they give me free coffee coupons. When I got home, I tucked a couple in my running fanny pack. Next time I'll be able to make good on my offer of a cup of coffee even if the person can't go right then.

I feel grateful I go to a church with a homeless community. I talk to our homeless regularly. They minister to me and the reverse. They have mental issues, I know at least one has been in jail. Some are working on changing things, others have found a balance living as they do. One used to work at a hospital when I worked there. People, just people.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Aww Karen, this was a real blesing to read today. Thank you for giving us a picture of caring in a world more often than not, that is mad and angry!

    2099 days ago
    We are no better than the homeless. But for the grace of God, we could be in their shoes.
    2103 days ago
    I think it's great that you started a conversation with him and are open to seeing him again (and even planning for it). emoticon
    2104 days ago
    WOW Karen! You are one amazing lady! And I mean that. We definitely need more people like you in the world - understanding and caring. You must of made his day. I seen your status about meeting a homeless man on your run but wasn't sure if it was a positive meeting or negative. So often we get nervous around people with mental issues, for me only because of the unknown. Just the talk must have been enriching for both of you and the physical touch of a handshake I'm sure had an impact on him! Thank You for sharing your warm heart with him!
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    2104 days ago
    Great blog. Sometimes we have a tendency to focus on all the negatives about certain people or communities.

    Good for you for being positive spirited and reaching out.
    2104 days ago
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