It’s 6am, 15degrees, and the sun is poking its sleepy head through my shades in an effort to coax me to join it outside for my morning run. I groan and desperately wish for just 5 more minutes to clamp my eyes shut and slide back into dream world. But as usual I reluctantly give in to the sun’s call and topple from the arms of my bed and strap on my sneakers to get outside before my body is awake enough to fully rebel. I’ve been running since I was five, and recently took on the challenge of training for my first marathon. I’ve spent countless hours pounding on the pavement. Mainly I run on my own, making company only with fellow road runners, dog walkers, and the occasional worker rushing to make the train. I run the same circle on my morning treks and encounter the same people; the construction workers, the kids waiting for the bus and the man in the ragged flannel shirt on the corner near 7-11 who has just spent another cold New England night on the bench.
I’m from a small town in Maine, where you can’t travel more than 100 yards without encountering your coach, your sister’s ex-boyfriend or Red, who owns the best hot dog joint in town. Therefore when I run around my town I spend more breath saying “hellos” and “how are yous” then I do on my actual running. My friends at college used to tell me I was too friendly with people, that I trusted everyone, and that I shouldn’t be. But everyday I pass the man in the ragged flannel shirt and I wish him a good morning just as I do to the mother waiting with her 6 year old for the bus and to everyone else I encounter. For I have come to believe that all people should be treated equally, without assumptions.
Everyone deserves to be trusted because everyone is loved. Whether I’m trusting one of my seven siblings, or the guy who is shoveling the sidewalk because the town never got to it, I see examples every day of the pure goodness within each person. It’s an idea instilled in me that you should always treat people with love and respect; I should treat everyone that surrounds me as I would treat my own mother.
After my run I always feel so happy that I did it. It gives me that chance to connect with all the people out there with me. It’s the fact that I have a bond with these people purely because they too are awake and outside at 6am that I love. They are constant reminders that we are all here together, coexisting and having ups and downs and feeling love and sometimes a lack of it. And everyday I’ll get up and pass along as many ‘Good Mornings’ as people I see, in hopes that they too will realize the vast connectedness and similarities that we all posses and will pass along some love and smiles to the next runner, happy bus driver or grumpy women who missed the train. You never know when someone needs that extra push to start a day of right. I believe that everyone deserves a chance, a smile and someone to wish them a good morning.
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