I clicked through my usual pages checking in on everyone in my virtual village: the ones I worry about, the ones who make me laugh, the thinkers, the firestarters, the soul sisters. I love them all. Suddenly I realized it had been a while since I’d seen hide or hair of one person whose seemingly innocuous, random tweet spurred my running as much or more than anything else.

Here’s how it started. A twitter friend tweeted that she’d accepted a challenge to run “100 miles during the summer” on a popular mileage tracking website. My proverbial wings had just been lifted to new heights by a newfound running bug and I somewhat confidently accepted the same challenge. She and I kept in touch over that first summer as she knocked out miles and miles and I struggled for every single one.

I continued running, longer and longer distances until I reached the half marathon mark. Then I added the marathon of writing, revising and publicizing a book which required as much discipline and fear as running. Her offhand tweet, thrown like sown seeds into the blistering gusts of a constantly updating twitter stream, spurred me on. From one challenge to the next.

But recently, I realized I’d not heard from her in some time, the writer of the tweet that started it all, nor had I given her proper credit. If she’d not tweeted that challenge, I wonder….

Yesterday, I read this, from David Hayward:

It amazes me how, sometimes, just one sentence from someone can unlock an impenetrable door on the path of your journey.

I don’t think my friend Jenelle meant to do anything other than simply share her summer goal. And yet, with that gentle nudge, her words thrust wide the winding and beautiful path that led to unearthing new goals I’d never dreamt, fulfilling ethereal wishes I’d until then been too afraid to attempt.

How do your words strike the ears of others? Has a toss away phrase ever changed your life?