The Sunday night before the start of another week. January 12th 2014, was probably similar to many Sunday nights for the Menzies family. Enjoying the time together, reflecting on the weekend, dinner around the table, and getting their three children to bed, hugs and kisses included. As we all do, we wake up each day just like Meg did, with a fresh start and a sunrise. She went out the door and started her run that Monday morning that she had done many times before. All expected to see her at the same finish line when done, home. Then came 8:15am. Meg was struck and killed by Toyota Sequoia SUV driven by an allegedly alcohol-impaired physician as she was on a morning run in Hanover County, Virginia. The normalcy of the night, days, weeks, and years of their lives just became upended. Suddenly Scott, their kids, and their family became about getting through the next hour, let alone the day.
Storms such as this can come when least expected, and a fog of uncertainty and grief follows. Author and Pastor Max Lucado has written about the fog of a broken heart “…it slyly imprisons the soul and refuses easy escape. It’s a silent mist that eclipses the sun and beckons the darkness. It’s a heavy cloud that honors no hour and respects no person. It disorients…makes it hard to see the road.”
Faith: the assurance of things hoped for, conviction of things not seen.
I live a few miles from the Menzies though we have never met; went and visited the site this week to pay respects. To read messages to Meg was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. After I heard the news, learned that a group (Meg’s Miles Supporters) had been formed on Facebook to support Meg and her family (#megsmiles). What has transpired has truly inspired, a compassionate community that has come together from all reaches of the globe to encourage the Menzies family and what is evident is how much they have encouraged us all. On Saturday, January 18th nearly 100,000 people around the globe on five continents ran for Meg and her family. Posts and pictures faster than the refresh button could refresh. Just reading the posts and seeing the pictures had me reflecting that storms in life and the fog that follows can bring purpose and reminded that you are never alone.
“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.” – C.S. Lewis
What it also brought to mind is that no matter what your story, it matters. Your life can impact and encourage, it can be done each day with each interaction, and you don’t have to be famous. A look at some of the writings this week brought together by this new bond:
I don’t call myself a Runner but I am a Mother and a Wife. I ran 4.4 miles today and with every breath, every drip of sweat, every gust of wind, every step… my heart ached for Meg Menzies family. Meg was Carelessly killed last week by a drunk driver while out on a run. My heart has been plagued and touched with this story of someone I’ve never met… A mother of three small children… A Wife. 90,000 runners logged thousands of miles for her on Saturday and so many more throughout the week. I found so much stillness in motion tonight as I am granted another day to do what so many can’t. Take a look at megsmiles… Strangers coming together as one… Pray for this family and thank God for this gift of life. I know I am…
out again for Meg….. this time it was the treadmill… not my favorite. Today we had wind chill of -9. I don’t like the treadmill much at all but I managed 4 miles. Meg was on my shoulder pushing me……thanks Meg
I ran 3.1 miles this evening, It was 14 degrees. The entire way I thought of Meg and all of the wonderful things I have Learned about her that made her so special. A strong woman, good wife and friend, loving mother, Woman of God and accomplished runner. I am inspired by her memory and each time I run I will say a prayer for peace and comfort for her family. God Bless you Meg.
7 degrees, 15″ of snow, 30 mph winds. 5k for meg, because I can
How can I ever run to the end of the block? But you did/will!
How can I ever run a mile? But you did/will!
How can I ever run a 5K, 10K, ½ Marathon, Marathon? But you did/will!
How can people of all different races, gender, ability, and beliefs come together for one common goal? But we did to honor someone so many of us never even met!
How can out of tragedy bring unity? But it did It brought all of us together not just for one day, but for the future!
How can out of so much pain and sorrow bring hope and strength? But it did. People are reaching out to people they don’t know to provide comfort and strength.
How can one person affect the lives of so many? But Meg you did!
I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Meg Menzies in this life. But, Meg’s passion, compassion, vibrant smile, beautiful soul and love for her family, friends and running have left a lasting impression on my soul. Meg and I are connected by another thread. You see, I was run-over by someone who should have never been behind the wheel five years ago. Even though my doctors said I would never run again, that didn’t mean I couldn’t do other things. I started crutching & wheeling to the gym and then through road races. Since Sept 2012, I have crutched through a dozen 5k races, three 10ks and numerous obstacle course races. Then, I learned of Meg Menzies. Her smile, her light, her heart & her soul captivated me and filled the spaces in my heart with love, hope, inspiration and motivation. I cried for her family, praying for their pain to subside. I didn’t cry for Meg, because I know she is with us even more now than ever. One look at this INCREDIBLE group & it’s obvious that Meg lives on in every one of you. I feel Meg’s presence with me. I can’t quite put into words how her smile inspires me to try even harder, to push even further, to face my fears and become my absolute best self. Meg reminds me that I am still ALIVE, that life is SHORT and PRECIOUS and that I am more ABLE than I ever realized. Her story has lit a fire within my soul that can not be snuffed. I have decided to crutch through a marathon by the end of the year IN HER HONOR.
Meg carved her name on many hearts, including ours. No one knows what will happen from one moment to the next however what we do have is the moment at hand. Don’t waste it.
As I gathered my thoughts about what to write and what I have experienced over the past several days, another inspiring story came to mind, namely how you are remembered helps you decide how to live and work today.
One Life to Give, Give all You Can - We all have 1,140 minutes every day and how we choose to spend those minutes determines what legacy we will leave.
More is Caught than Taught – Do not underestimate the tremendous influence of simply by the way you live your life in front of others.
Encouragement does Everything - Perseverance in the face of life’s failures or shortcomings, the power of encouragement. It gives “courage” to face the future and to take managed risks. It’s a great gift you can provide and have.
Selfless Love - The kind of love that is an exercise of the will and choosing the highest good for someone else. It doesn’t flow from the perceived value or appearance of another person, rather it flows from the heart of the one doing the loving and puts other people first.
The distances Meg ran would tire me simply by driving them. As we huddled the morning before we ran to honor Meg and her family on January 18th, 2014, one of Meg’s good friends from her church spoke to us. With tears in her eyes she conveyed what a great athlete she was and how strong her faith in Christ carried her each day. We prayed and then ran. Have not run five miles continuously in a long time, and without headphones enjoyed the quiet thoughts as I felt sweat, the pain, the wind, and the cold. Was grateful for it all.
Tomorrow reaches out to us all, and as pictures came in from around the world hope this video serves to honor the Menzies and Cross families and encourage as we move forward from this day.
We have all been lifted on an angel’s wings.
“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
God bless and God speed.
Until next time,