I woke up to some sad news Saturday morning. One of the members of my triathlon community suffered the most unthinkable loss this week. Her teenage son committed suicide. We learned this through our facebook group – an uplifting, positive sort of virtual community of (mostly) women (moms) who share triathlon tips, advice and support. This mom shared her gut wrenching news and said she felt selfish about her own training – that maybe she should have been more present for her son. I hurt for her to have this thought in her head. God only knows the kind of suffering her son endured and why this sad ending occurred.
Our facebook community, a group of strangers to this woman and in many ways, to each other, embraced her and sent their prayers and healing thoughts. They facebook hugged, comforted with messages and prayers and sent all sorts of healing love. Many in this community dedicated their workouts and races this weekend to her in a show of unity and support. One rode 100 miles on her bike trainer (indoors) and others ran in the oppressive heat. They did triathlons with #hugsforCara tattooed on their arms in permanent marker as a constant reminder to pray and channel love toward her. All of this as a form of communal prayer for our hurting sister.
This kind of communal caring lifted her up. We turned our runs, or swims, or bike rides into prayer and focused on “other” and not “self”. The love generated from these sacred workouts came as we transferred our personal physical pain and discomfort and sent healing thoughts to another. We ached for our friend and tried in the only way we could to ease her pain.
Our community comes together as a forum to discuss triathlon and all its facets, plus family, work and everything else that happens along the way and how we manage to keep it all together. We accomplish that and we learn so much from each other. And when one of our group sends out an SOS, we answer in the most meaningful way….through our sacrificial sweat and pain and miles and miles of triathlon.