“Your Brother Really Shocked Me …”

I just sent those words in a text to my good friend Sharon in Massachusetts. I know she’ll call me to find out what I mean.

(By way of background, Sharon’s brother Marty, and his wife Tonya live across the street. I met Sharon when she was visiting them years ago and we became fast friends. Sharon and her brother are like night and day. She even jokes affectionately that Marty is a “bah humbug” kind of a guy, sarcastic, with a dry sense of humor.  Although Marty and Tonya have been our neighbors for 15 years, David and I haven’t spent much time with them.)

Anyhow, back to the story:

“I saw your brother outside today,” I told Sharon.

He greeted me with “How’s it going, Skinny?” (I’ve recently lost weight.)

“Good,” I said. “It helps that I’m training for my first triathlon.”

“Whoa!” Marty took a step back. “That’s great!”

“Thanks! I figured that after I turned 50, I wanted to shift my life up, not down, and this would be one way to do that!”

Then he smiled and said the thing that shocked me:  

“Let me know when your triathlon is, and Tonya and I will cheer you on.”

I figured he was just trying to be nice.  

“Thanks,” I said. “But it’s really early in the morning.” (They are not morning people.)

“What time?”

“7 am.”

“Wow, that is early. But we can probably still make it,” Marty said.

I thanked him, we said our goodbyes, and I thought that was the end of it.

That evening my husband said he and Zoe had seen Marty and Tonya walking their dogs. Marty asked him the date, time and location of the triathlon, so they could find a restaurant to sit in and watch the race.

Then it hit me. They really wanted to go!

And I realized something else. Just when you think you know somebody, they can shock you, but in a really good way.

The lesson I learned is this: keep an open mind. While you’ll encounter people in life who bring you down, you also find unexpected cheerleaders who brighten your day.

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