Kevin was my next door neighbor for six years. Our front doors were about three yards apart at the apartment complex we shared. There was a very close knit community of us in that complex. We all had the keys to each others homes, we took care of each others animals, we ate pizza together, played dice and watched Lakers games together. And we also surfed together.
One day about four years ago, Kevin was down at the beach, dove into the water head first, and became instantly paralyzed. He can move his arms but not his legs, fingers or toes. Kevin is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. He goes to Project Walk three times a week, works out in a standing frame, which mimics walking, uses a hand cycling machine and is determined to walk again. He has also become the ambassador of the apartment complex. Everyone loves Kevin.
The night I got back from Catalina Island, I got a call that Kevin was being admitted to the hospital with a high fever. Nothing life threatening, but they are running tons of tests to determine what is wrong.
I stopped by to see him on Monday, bringing all the pictures from the Avalon 50. As I was showing him a slide show I had put together, complete with music, I was feeling embarrassed for myself. As wonderful of a time as I had at the race, there was a big part of me that was berating myself for not being able to cross the finish line of the 50 mile race, and only going 25 miles. Sitting there talking with Kevin, I realized that life is such an amazing gift. Every single step we take, every breath we take, just the fact that we can swing our legs out of bed in the morning, jump out of bed, leash up the dog and go for a walk, is an absolute miracle. I write this story, not to bring you down, but to remind all of us that every single precious moment is to be savored, adored and cherished as a gift from the Divine. Go outside today and take a long, deep breath.