So Fill Up Your Lungs & Just Run

When I left work today I knew I was going to work out, I just didn’t quite know where or what. After a quick poll on twitter (that only one person responded to within the allotted 15 minutes) I opted to go for a run outside, in the rain. And I loved it!

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Post- Run Success!

I haven’t run on the street since I attempted in Florida last month, which I failed at miserably. But this time I was dressed properly, had shoes that don’t suck and it wasn’t bright and sunny.

Once I started going I wasn’t sure where I was headed, but I wound up at the cemetery in my town by the Fire Department. What a peaceful place!

I started walking around looking at the tombstones, wondering what everyone’s story was. Did they die from natural causes? Was it unexpected? What kind of legacy did they leave? Do they have any family left? Suddenly I wanted sit and talk with them all. Imagine the stories you’d get from someone who died in 1776 at the age of 35!

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Like this one. Who are these people? What are their stories? How did their relatives get over the fact that they were never found or identified?

So how do you do it,
With just words and just music, capture the feeling
That my earth is somebody’s ceiling,
Can I deliver in sound, the weight of the ground
Of a cemetery in the center of [Clinton]

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Or this one. If you zoom in you’ll see she died in 1770 at the age of 31 (scary), but she must still have relatives considering there are flowers at her resting place. Right? Who are they?

There’s a history through her
Sent to us as a gift from the future, to show us the proof
More than that, it’s to dare us to move
And to open our eyes and to learn from the sky
From a cemetery in the center of [Clinton]

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This is a story I’d love to hear! Is she still alive? Probably not…so what happened? Where is she?

And then I came to the reason I was there….

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Joe and I went to high school together. I met him my freshman year and he was one of the sweetest, most genuine people I knew. On father’s day of 2002 (I think, maybe 2003) he came to church with me and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He completely changed his life that day. The following months and years were filled with lots of questions and lots of excitement. I was honored to be able to walk with him through this time of his life.

And then on May 21st, 2005 he was minding his own business on a jet ski in a no-wake zone in Florida with a friend of his and they were hit by a drunk driver with a 21 foot catamaran. They died on impact.

I remember where I was when I got the call from his brother…I was at church. And I had no idea how to react. How do you react to something like that?

Pretty much the entire town, and some, showed up to his wake and funeral. Joe touched so many lives in the short time he was on this earth. He left his mark on all of us.

We may not understand why he was taken from us so abruptly, but I know where he is, and I like to think that God looked down on him and said “Joe, come up here. I have need of you.” And because Joe was the kind of guy that would help anyone or anything at the drop of a hat whether he knew you or not, I like to imagine that he responded with a huge smile on his face “OK God! Whatcha got?!”

…I miss that smile.

So I did the only thing I could think of…I took a selfie with him…

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Please forgive my face, I was a bit emotional

…and continued to sing Sara Bareilles at the top of my lungs as I jogged my way home.

You said, remember that life is
Not meant to be wasted
We can always be chasing the sun!
So fill up your lungs and just run
But always be chasing the sun!

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5 thoughts on “So Fill Up Your Lungs & Just Run

  1. Jess, this was absolutely moving. As soon as I scrolled down and saw his tombstone tears came freely. You are right about Joe. He would always jump right in when help was needed. And with that big goofy smile! It was a joy watching him grow with his relationship with God. And now, looking back at this I can only remind myself to try and be a humble and willing servant as he was.

  2. I used to walk through the cemetery with my grandmother and we would talk about the names, the dates, things she remember from back then. We pulled weeds from graves that seemed unattended. It was one of my favorite memories of time with her.

  3. Jess, my breath stopped when I unexpectedly saw his face! It was so sweet that you left that tribute to him, I remember exactly where I was too when I found out and his funeral became standing room only, people flowing out the doorway. He was such an amazing guy, we were really close. We enjoyed our post-prom party after senior prom at his house and I crashed in the den lol! I was looking through my old photo albums and found tons of pictures from graduation and the lock-in afterwards. It’s crazy how our lives can change so quickly. But I know he’s looking down on us and helping us along this wild journey.

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