I love to run. For the past fifteen years, I have run two to three times a week. I find it a great outlet for stress and a refuge for mindfulness. I run by myself mostly but occasionally I join other runners. Larry is one such runner.
For years Larry and I passed each other running the opposite direction on a local street in Winchester. As most runners do we would wave knowing we we were already friends because we were runners. Recently we were formally introduced and began running on Fridays early in the morning…before sunrise early.
Great conversation and dialogue emerged. I learned a lot about Larry on our first few runs together. I learned about his loving wife, his beloved dog and his devotion to his mother-in-law who recently passed away. I also learned that 21 years ago at the age of 45, Larry was hit by a car. He had just completed a long run, grabbed the newspaper from his mailbox and was struck by a car just inches from his driveway.
After a year of enduring mounds of physical therapy, Larry was back to running. I should also add that Larry is not a sidewalk runner like myself. He prefers the road. Easier on the knees they say because asphalt is softer than concrete but for me too hard on the nerves.
Larry is a carefree soul. He is not bothered by the numerous cars passing closely by at racing speeds. His joyful spirit is contagious and his zest for life exuberant. One particular very early morning, Larry and I were running down Main Street when a car did not see us and came very close to hitting us. I must say that I was irritated by the mishap. I went on to being downright exasperated at the fact that we had the right of way and if people would pay closer attention and… I also was cognizant of the damage Larry had already experienced because of a faulty driver. When I paused between defamatory remarks, Larry chimed in with a most unassuming and jovial response of “no harm, no foul”. These four words stopped me in my tracks….not my running tracks but my thought tracks. No harm, no foul. Wow. He was so right. Four small words and my perspective totally shifted. Here was a man that was tragically hit by a car and for most this would have evoked a negative reaction but from him it simply did not. He didn’t skip a beat. I think it even gave him a pep in his step. Forgiveness and grace can do that.
Larry’s reaction to this near catastrophic experience affected me profoundly. His response to an accidental oversight exhibited such grace. It was not just the words Larry spoke but the authenticity behind them. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t recollect the grace Larry exemplifies. He harbors no resentment of the accident that took a year away from his very active lifestyle. He continues to extend that grace and forgiveness daily.
No harm, no foul.
I run with grace. I run with Larry.