"We are born
Not for ourselves
But to help others"
That saying hung on three wooden signs strung together with chain on the back wall of every cabin at the summer camp I grew up attending.
From age 7 on I saw it every day for six weeks straight.
It sticks with me to this day as important.
Maybe that's why I asked him to run with me the other day -- a part of me thought maybe it could help.
There's a gentleman I see nearly every morning on my regular route through town. He's older, and I imagine he was a speed demon years ago. He's got long, long legs, almost no body fat, and every time he runs past me (even on the hills) he never looks like he's working too hard.
We nod our heads and say good morning nearly every time we pass one another.
For as long as I've been running this route and bumping into this man along the way, he's always had a sweet, old black lab trotting alongside him. The dog's leash is always secured around the man's waist, I guess so he doesn't have to hold the leash.
Every time I see the duo, seeing that sweet dog makes me smile.
I have often wondered how many miles the pair has covered together.
The other morning I saw the man and the dog wasn't with him.
The day after that, the dog was also absent.
After 3 consecutive days of seeing the man without his dog, I finally asked the man the question I guessed I already knew the answer to: Was his four-legged companion OK?
The man slowed his stride to meet me on the sidewalk.
"Had to put him down," he told me.
I winced. It was the answer I didn't want.
I told him how sorry I was to hear his news.
"Do you want to finish my last mile with me," I asked him. "I know we've never really talked but I've seen you out here so many times and that dog always made me smile."
And without a word, we were off.
I took up residence on the side his dog normally ran.
I hope it helped -- even if just for a mile.