Sunday, June 24, 2012
Eleanor Roosevelt was once quoted as saying, "A woman is like a teabag—you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water."
I don't know what the right metaphor is (An oceanliner? Alaskan fishing boat?), but I think you never know how strong a woman is until she gets into tumultuous water.
Today one of my dear friends, Southern Belle, completed an Ironman race in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the Ironman, it includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. That last one is a full marathon. It is a race made only for the fittest people who walk among us. It is astounding to me that I know a woman who completed it.
What's most amazing, though, isn't that Southern Belle has such tremendous physical strength. What is truly incredible is that she completed this race after life knocked her to her knees on April 19th.
See, Southern Belle is the girlfriend of Mr. W and my friend Sweet Pete who passed away two months ago. More than his girlfriend, she was the woman who would become his wife. Unbeknownst to any of us, he had purchased a ring for her before he died.
The fact that this Ironwoman can pull herself up out of the depths of sorrow to walk across a room is a feat in itself. The fact that she can swim, bike and run her way across 140.6 miles of a race course is nothing short of a miracle in my eyes.
That is strength like I've never known. A display of resolve and passion like I've never seen. A way to honor someone's memory that surpasses what most of us will ever be capable of.
That is love.
"Congratulations" isn't a strong enough word for my friend Southern Belle. Instead I will just tell her that she is my hero.
She is the epitome of strength.