Friday, August 7, 2009

In order to defeat a monster

In summer 2007, I was on my way home from a long, hot training ride. With about 15 miles left to get home, I was suffering--dehydrated, hungry, exhausted. I wanted to quit.

I was listening to my ipod shuffle on this ride, and as I was suffering along, barely moving, the song Miss Sarajevo came on. Listening to the lyrics, I couldn't help but be inspired. Miss Sarajevo is a song about the Miss Sarajevo beauty contest held in 1993 during the siege of Sarajevo, Bosnia. The contest was held in a basement because of the threat of sniper fire above ground. The contestants carried a banner onstage reading "don't let them kill us."

Amidst all the pain and ugliness and suffering of the war, the pageant organizers and participants found time to celebrate beauty. To have the courage to go on living their lives despite the destruction and violence and pain around them.

The version I listened to that day was a live performance from Milan in which Bono introduces the song by saying, "We'd like to turn our song into a prayer. And the prayer is that we don't become a monster, in order to defeat a monster. That's our prayer tonight."

As I heard these words, I was energized as I thought of Susan and her struggle--the pain she was going through with chemotherapy and radiation and surgery and everything else. The words echoed in my head: that we don't become a monster, in order to defeat a monster.

Since then, I have thought of Susan whenever I hear this song, which is often, as it's one of my favorites. I thought of the beauty she brought to her fight against this monster. I thought of the courage of her family and those around her. I think now of the beauty of team Fatty, fighting like Susan to raise over a half million dollars in this fight. That to me is the embodiment of beauty and courage and hope. After all, why would we give, why would we put energy towards this fight, if we had no hope?

Last night as my youngest daughter's bedtime approached, she began to cry for her mommy. Rachel was gone shopping, so I tried to comfort her, telling her mommy would be home soon. I held her and hugged her and rocked her and tried to calm her, but she continued to cry. I began to sing to her "Sleep, sleep tonight. And may your dreams be realized. If the thundercloud passes rain, so let it rain, rain down on me..."

As I sang to her, and she began to calm, I realized she was not the only one in need of comfort.