Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I AM A SOULDIER


photo by: LanellLeone Photography 

Remember in 2015 when Rachel Platten released her Fight Song?
Everyone was gaining strength and courage for their personal battles. Children with cancer, adults losing loved ones. It was idolized by many.

Just as the Fight Song, brings strength to many, I find myself turning to a different song for strength.

Back in July 2016, Ric and I were running a spontaneous weekend 5K, celebrating Independence Day. I hadn't done anything athletic of the such in over a year. My body was (and still is) recovering from pregnancy. (Will it ever recover? The unknown question we all have. Whether I do or don't, I've got a dang cute kid to show for it, and that is worth any sacrifice in my book.) I started running and pacing myself slowly. The adrenaline of the race carried me for a short half mile. Then I started struggling, fatigue in my limbs, tightening of the airways, and the mental game. My goal was not to run in a specific time. My goal going into this race was simply; to not walk, and finish. However, at this point I truly was certain I wasn't going to run all of it, and simply 'hoping' to cross that finish line. I turned to Ric and said, "You need to carry me. You need to carry me through this race because I am done. I need you to distract my mind and start telling me a story. I need you to assess my body from your eyes and adjust our pace accordingly, be my pacer. I'll focus on my breathing, you distract my mind, and you pace my body.' He began recalling the history of our Country fighting for their Independence. Began telling stories of military troops and the wars and battles they had had to endure. How quickly my mind shifted. Here I was 26 years old, in a first world country, a beautiful day, perfect weather, my husband by my side and I thought I was having a hard time. I thought I wasn't going to endure. I reflected back on my own two cousins who served in the Marines and their 20 mile runs with weighted packs on their backs, through the sand. I thought back on all the troops who went days on end without sleep in battle, days of physical exertion. I became so humbled and grateful I had tears welling up in my eyes. I could endure and I was going to finish. I didn't finish pretty, but I didn't ever stop or walk and we made it just over the time, I secretly was hoping to finish in -- because what athlete ever really loses that competitiveness with themselves?

Now, I have never been a soldier fighting for my freedoms or in a war with bullets, camo and the flag on my shoulder. But everyday I fight for my life, for freedom from this illness.

When I heard The Killer's song, All These Things That I've Done, the line - I got soul but I'm not a soldier; resonated to my soul. It was exactly how I felt about my daily battle with cystic fibrosis. One that will never stop attacking and one that I will never stop fighting back. I knew I wasn't a soldier in camouflage but I was my own soul-dier. I'd never be on the battle field with a gun, but I'd be on the daily, the minute, the every second battle field of my own body. And that takes courage.  

I may not be a soldier but, I AM A SOULDIER.

The past year as this Sherman Army has grown larger and stronger than I ever imagined, I feel your strength as my fellow souldiers. And so, I release to you, and anyone else fighting as a souldier, our new Souldier Tee.



Xx, M



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