I am a girl who loves mountains, changing seasons, running, true backpacking, strong coffee, and knitting with high quality yarn.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I didn't even know this word before I met Larry. Of course there are many words I am unaware of. But this one, somehow, seems to be fitting my life. Either that, or that Bible saying about "Everything happening for a reason and leads somewhere"...is it from a Bible? Honestly, I never read one. I grew up in an atheist country. With strong cultural roots in religion of Russian Orthodox, one of the very conservative religions out there, Go figure...

But I digress. I think I might digress a number of times tonight, as I am typing and trying to process things.

Back to serendipity. It seems that once I learned that word, with Larry, it just explained so many things from before, and still does.

You know how he delivered the word to me? When he came to visit me for the first time 2 weeks after Jemez 50 race, in Portland, he asked me if we could rent this movie as it was his favorite. I think he already knew our lives are struck by serendipity...

Some few years prior to that event, now, I was a friend of Lisa Smith- Batchen, and Larry was coached by her. So, he was pointed towards my blog, and read it from time to time, and commented may be a handful of times. I, as a polite human being, had clicked and read some of his stuff, and commented, yes - especially on those posts of self-discovery. As Larry mentioned in comments to my previous post, we, Russians, are not into small talk. More like deep into the soul every time someone has more than 3 minutes to devote. And if it's less, we kind of don't bother talking.

But I digress. I commented. He emailed me and asked for my advice about Zane Grey 50. I responded something. At ZG50 in 2007 he walked to me and introduced himself. We both ran in a race. I was injured, and got hurt at mile 3. He passed me, tapping on the shoulder. I overcome, and later passed him at mile 25, sitting on the rock drained under an AZ son, and finished over 2 hrs faster than he did. That race still, to date, one of Larry's most proud achievements.

Time past, a few months, really. I had finally realized my 18 years marriage is not going to work no matter how much I am trying. I began the separation process. At some point later, I read one of those posts I liked of Larry's. Something touched me - nothing is said, but something is there. And out of the blue, I email him. It turns out, Larry is going through his own divorce process - what are the odds of that? I respond back - with now infamous words: You do what it takes, and I do what it takes, and God willing, it wil bring us to the path that will lead to happiness, however long and twisted it may be.

Who would have thought? There was no underlining meaning in there. Just trying to support, that's it.
Larry DNF'ed at Jemez 50 in 2007, a month after Zane Grey where we met. He was thinking about Jemez in 2008 for revenge - and to thank me for that small offer of support, since I signed up as well. Funny things happen. We said hello's, and then he took off, and I caught him up at mile 30 reminding I may beat him by 2 hrs again. And then we talked, and talked, and got lost a lot... and 2 weeks later he was in Portland. Renting "Serendipity".

Everybody knows by now my older son had done drugs. My own path to self-discovery had only scratched the surface with attending seminars that his boarding school requested, and as my personal life was getting more shattered, more books and deeper look was more ever present in my life.
Not everybody might still be aware that my younger son dipped into pot smoking as well. For the last 3 years we all tried to believe it's not really happening. Until this summer it is kind of gotten into our faces.

No, the stories of my boys are completely different. The similarity is only that they lucked out on the parent who is not going to be complacent and pretend things aren't happening. That since the school is great, and home is quiet, and nothing major happens, the behavior will be allowed. The eyes will not be closed just for the sake of easy life. I won't be diving into details and explanation. This is not about kids, or drugs. This is about serendipity.

And I am digging into that self-discovery path in every direction I can find.
Last week I took him to a AA meeting. He happened to be in a wrong room - AlaTeen, where the kids who's parents are alcoholics share what a miserable lives they have and try to learn to cope and forgive. I, on the other hand, just set there in the hallway, and what do you know, as chance has it, an older gentleman approached me and started talking. Turns out, since early childhood he was fascinated with all Russian, and even visited twice. He was not one who just made small talk and threw in some touristy details. He KNEW. What are the odds...

A week went by. It's one of those weeks where on the surface things are quiet and good, but nothing is stable. Kid has been reading a school-required book, staying at my work, looking for jobs actively (and getting them!), taking boxing as told and not skating as punished. But it's one of those small-fire flicker inside that doesn't let me rest. Co-dependency.

I took him to that place again. He really tried to persuade me he doesn't need THAT meeting. So, I decided we could both benefit from a class across the hall - the AA. Since we're there, you know...

Serendipity. It is a 12-step program. Tonight, they discussed Step #8. I bet you don't know what that step says, do you? I didn't. It's about relationships with others. "Make a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all." Pretty powerful. When a passage from the book was read, the paragraph that took my breath away was one describing what is "harm", and how "we as alcoholics take away not only physical possessions, but more importantly, emotional safety". There. This hit home. My emotional safety is shaken so much, I am acting as an addict myself. One who needs healing. Healing and recovery.

Listening stories of those people, members who are sober for 5, 12, 25 years, and how they still come, and share, and confirm...people from all walks of lives. Rich and pour, any gender, professions, age. Functioning and not so much.

We all need 12 steps. Whatever is that we struggle with, we need to take a deep breath and step back, and then look. Sanity. Is it still there? What can we do to regain it? Why is it shaky? What impact do we have on people, from those close and dear to us, to those we pass by in our daily lives? We can never relax, really, because not one of us lives in a vacuum. You may not have a child that struggles with an addiction (bless your heart), or a parent with terminal disease, or a memory from own childhood that you wish to erase. But whatever is that plaques each of us deserves digging into. And accepting. And working to be released.

Folks run for many reasons. They stop for many reasons too. Nothing is black and white, nor one-dimensional. I, certainly, have plenty of reasons for both. But as I work on my emotional healing, my running is my time, my focus, and I allow it to shift. Sometimes it's very goal-oriented and strenuous. Sometimes it's "hair in the air" and mind wander. But as long as it's there, so am I. Making steps.


Danni said...

Nice post Olga.

Larry said...

In case anyone has any doubt, you don't have a direct need for AA (drinking for you is a rare occurrence).

Olga King said...

Why, once a month a glass of something doesn't count?

Anonymous said...

You make a good point, Olga. We all need tools for living. You don't need to be a drunk or a drug addict to take stock and make amends as necessary.


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