A Megsmiles Advent - December 21
A guest post from Jennifer Sower:
The first time I met Meg, we were at an event with our kids – a birthday party, a school event, I don’t even really remember. The kind of social situation where I introduce myself as “Owen’s Mom” rather than Jennifer. It turns out that my son and Meg’s daughter were both kindergartners in the same class at school. We had only lived in Hanover a couple of months before school started, and so I didn’t know many other parents. We chatted for a few minutes about how our littlest ones were adjusting to kindergarten and how we were adjusting to having 3 children old enough for school. I left thinking that it was nice to have met another mom that I had some things in common with.
The second time I saw Meg, we were in the middle of one of the coldest winters I can remember in Central VA. It was so cold that we delayed school opening. As I drove my kids to school that freezing cold winter morning, I saw Meg and Scott out running, and I thought to myself "Now that's dedication!" I've been a runner off and on since high school, but I was definitely using this cold as an excuse to be "off". A little part of me felt guilty at not being out there with them – but not quite guilty enough to head out in the cold!
The third time I heard about Meg, it was just a few days later, on a cold winter morning in January. One of my neighbors told us about a bad accident that had happened just down the road from our neighborhood – a jogger had been hit by a car. I started to pray. Nearly 12 months later, I haven’t stopped. As the story slowly rolled in that day and in the days that followed, I began to piece together that the person in all three of these stories - the mom of my son’s friend, the runner I saw out in the cold, the neighbor from down the street – were all the same person.
Meg’s story touched me on so many different levels. She was someone that I almost knew. Given enough time, I’m sure we would have gotten to know each other – this is a small town, and we had too many things in common. And so Meg’s legacy to me has been to not waste a minute. To smile and strike up a conversation with a stranger. To get out and run even when I don’t want to. To hug my kids every chance I get. Before I knew Meg’s story, I had never run more than 5 or 6 miles at a time. This year I’ve run two half marathons. I’m signed up for a third in the spring, and I will run my first full marathon in November 2015. Those are all things that I never would have thought myself capable of, but thanks to Meg I have also seen what an amazing support system is all around me…thanks to her, I have stumbled into a group of people who cheer each other on, who support each other unconditionally, who make the impossible seem achievable.
I never would have even attempted to run a half marathon without reading the stories of the people in this community. The things I have accomplished are due to them and so are due to Meg. Every day I read about someone else going farther than they ever have because of her legacy. That is something that we should all aspire to – she makes us all better versions of ourselves.
A guest post from Kelly Caddell:
The morning of Meg’s memorial service, I was scheduled to be the parent-reader for my son’s kindergarten class during their library time. I went to my email to check about getting a substitute and before I even looked at it I realized that the first name on the list would be Meg’s.
It was through these volunteer opportunities at school that I was really starting to get to know Meg. I decided that she would ok with me following through on my volunteer responsibilities, so I went to the school to read that morning. My heart was heavy looking out at many of the kids wearing blue in support of the Menzies family, knowing they didn’t even understand what was going on. It is still hard not to dwell on the sadness and tragedy of Meg’s death, but that morning I realized how important it would be moving forward to celebrate her life and focus on her legacy. I recently came across this quote: “Don’t shine so that others can see you, but rather shine so that through you others see Him.” I feel like Meg had that figured out.
Each day when I pick my son up from school I hope that I run into Meg’s mom because she has that “shine” just like Meg. Seeing her smile reminds me that there is more to this life if we keep our focus on Him.
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