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— My iPod has any kind of music you could imagine on it, from John Denver to Rise Against.

While I’m driving, I love to click “shuffle songs” and let it play. Sometimes it sets a mood, like when I’m getting ready to run and a good hip-hop song plays to get me pumped up. Sometimes it’s as if every song that plays somehow relates to what is going on with me at that exact moment.

The Foo Fighters got it right on my last road trip - “It’s times like these youlearn to love again.” And oh, is it ever.

It’s times like these - when a family member is in the fight for his life - that make me forget that I hate driving this route. I forget I had to completely rearrange my schedule to sit with my father whilehe is pumped full of toxic chemicals. I forget anything he has ever done to make me angry because I am once again 10 years old and he’s the center of my universe.

No one knows when we might meet our maker, whatever or whoever we believe that is. You might go into the doctor with what you think are gall stones, and come out with cancer. You might live to be 100, unscathed.

When you think on it, does your life have meaning? Not the kind of meaning that makes you famous or wealthy or known the world over. Does your life have the kind of meaning so that when someone needed you and asked for you, you were there without hesitation - even though it was the hardest thing you have ever done?

Did the simple act of being there in the same room make someone else’s life a little better?

I suppose all we can do with times like these is learn.

Opinion, Pages 4 on 10/21/2009

Print Headline: Running Lines: Learning life’s hardest lessons ...

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