There are times in life when you have to outsmart yourself and push yourself outside the boundaries of common day comfort — sort of like coloring outside the lines. (And you know I was the little kid in class who drew dark defined lines in my coloring books to make sure that didn’t happen!)
This year to celebrate my Carpe Diem day I decided at the last minute to form a team, the A-team, for the Arthritis Walk. Though I had fundraised for the Arthritis Foundation in the past, I never formed a walk team. Celebrating my survival with arthritis in this intimate way is definitely coloring outside the lines. I shook a little bit as I sent out emails to a short list of friends requesting their support as either a walker or donor. Each click of the send button felt like I was taking off one piece of clothing. And each “ping” on my phone as the words of support came rolling in surprised me and made me feel even more vulnerable.
The week leading up to the Walk, I fell deathly ill from a Raynaud’s ulcer in my right index finger (déjà vu? See my previous post). Because I was in so much pain and at risk of infection, I couldn’t participate in the Arthritis Walk. I didn’t blame any of my friends who chose not to go out to the Walk since, after all, their honoree and captain Kristin “Hannibal” Anderson couldn’t make it. (Reacquaint yourself with the A-Team this weekend if this character is not familiar to you.)
When I woke up that morning, feeling drunk on nitroglycerine (an ulcer treatment which causes my blood pressure to drop), I slithered onto the couch and looked at my iPhone. Already waiting for me were several text messages and Facebook photos from two friends who were at the Walk walking in my honor.
My eyes flooded with tears. And then I laughed, for my friends Daryl and Jason were determined to “win” the Arthritis Walk in my honor. I tried to break it to them gently that it wasn’t a race with a bunch of arthritics participating! But alas, there was no changing their minds. And win the race they did.
They also won my heart. And showed me that sometimes coloring outside the lines allows your friends to jump into your life and offer you comfort just when you need it most.