By now you've heard the story of Maickel Melamed. He may be the most famous last place finisher of any race in history. Melamed, who suffers from a series of debilitating illnesses, finished the Boston Marathon earlier this week in slightly over 20 hours. Anyone who's read his story knows the odds were much more in favor of him never finishing at all.
After the race Melamed made the comment that "you cannot do extraordinary things without connecting with other people." His comment was in reference to the team of people who supported him through his 20-hour race.
When I read Melamed's comment about how we need connections, I couldn't help but think of the Megsmiles Supporters group. Especially as it has impacted my life. Over the past six months I've connected with people I never would have known if we hadn't all been united through our common interest in Meg Cross Menzies. As a result, I recently completed my second half-marathon. Granted, that is not as unlikely as Melamed's Boston accomplishment. In my own little world, though, it was as unlikely as me walking the moon. The thing is, when you take the chance to connect with other people you never know what heights they're going to lift you to. Or in some cases, carry you to.
The second of my two half marathons was the recent Run the Bluegrass. I barely finished. By the time I did it felt like I'd been on the course 20 months, not 20 hours. When I did, though, it was side by side with three friends I've connected with on this page. Friends who refused to see me do anything less than the extraordinary.
A couple of weeks ago one of those friends, Solomon Morris Whitfield, gave me a present to commemorate that moment. It now hangs on the wall in a room where I do a lot of writing and draw on a lot of different sources for inspiration. I assure you, I will turn to this gift often.
As I look at this picture I am not only reminded of the extraordinary things I can accomplish, but also of those that can be accomplished through us - this group. I don't know that I'll ever fully understand why all 18,000 of us have been united through such a tragic event, but we have. Every day we share the extraordinary things we accomplish together because of it. I'm reminded today, though, through the words of Maickel Melamed, that there are others still waiting for our connection. That without us they may never accomplish their own extraordinary.
I'm grateful to my friend MO for giving me this picture. It's hard to imagine. Six months ago we're perfect strangers. Today he hangs at the top of my wall, a key figure in one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. Through it he will live on as an inspiration. I also know that through that picture, the life of Meg Cross Menzies lives on.