For some, it’s considered unlucky. For me, thirteen was the number of years between my two hospitalizations for depression. These years represented a time period of ups and downs, of profound despair intermixed with times of joy. My two hospitalizations were bookends for a tumultuous time in my life.
Now, thirteen is my number of hope.
Last Sunday, I ran thirteen miles (a half marathon) in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, a race that pays tribute to the lives that were lost thirteen years ago. As their website says, “It is not about running—it is about living.”
I had developed a head cold the week before. My husband had been traveling. My schedule had become so full that I had not devoted proper time to train for this event. Yet despite the cold, windy, wet weather, I ran. Not because it was easy for me. Not because I have a natural running ability…I most certainly do not. Not even because I particularly enjoy the act of running. I ran for all of those people who could not run, who will never be able to run here on earth again. Along the course, there were 168 flags, one for each life lost in the Oklahoma City bombing. 168…one life shy of thirteen multiplied by thirteen. For them, I ran. I figured that, if given the chance, these people would have said, “Michelle, I’d love to have the ‘problems’ that you’ve had these past few weeks. I’d love to have a cold. I’d love to be the one responsible for taking care of my precious babies while my spouse traveled…”
On May thirteenth, my Welcome The Rain book and inspirational movie will officially be released. This book, which has thirteen “Welcome…” chapters, each devoted to a different type of rain, shows that we make our own luck. No number, event, or situation will define me. It is up to me to decide how I will live.
I will write. I will run. I will live.
Because I am here. Because I can. Because I am alive.