A flood of emotions are overwhelming me as I write this. Today I attended what I thought was going to be a simple school outing, little did I know today I was going to be taught the lesson.
The district in which I work holds a track and field event for the 5th graders as a way to round out the year and give them the opportunity to see friends and show off all the hard work they have been doing over the school year. I attended in hopes of cheering on some of my co-worker's children and getting a chance to get out of the stuffy office for a little while, no real intention of enjoying anything other than the sun and cool breeze.
Little did I know some real life inspiration was happening right in front of me! I watched student after student= take their place at the starting line, the sound of the gun signaled the start of the race...suddenly a flood of cheers overcame the bleachers. 300 students began to cheer on one another even if they didn't know that student personally. "Come on you can do it, you got this, you're doing awesome" reigned over the crowd. In this moment it made no difference if they were friend or foe, they were a team! Every kid that ran had a cheerleader, even the ones who lagged behind had another student cheering them on to success. The amount of love and respect for one another was amazing!
I happen to love photography so I decided to take a few snap shots and offer them to the parents in case they were too preoccupied to focus on the camera. I will admit, I was only haphazardly taking photos myself due to the fact that I was consumed by the cheering and electricity happening around me. So as I got back to my office I sat down to my computer to edit the photos to be sent out in emails. Scanning the photos one stood out immediately. It was a photo of one little girl. As I zoomed in on the photo I could see the agony in her face as she was trying so hard to continue on the long, demanding race she was chosen to run. Her eyes were red as if she were fighting back tears, sweat ran down her forehead, her posture was hunched forward in utter fatigue...she was in last place. I saw the pain in that photo and thought "I just wanted to get out there and save her". I wanted to climb that fence and take all that pain away. I wanted to run next to her and cheer her on so she knew, although at the end of the pack she was not alone. I saw her struggle and fight her way through the last quarter of the race never giving up, crossing the finish line to a crowd of encouragement.
So why would this bring tears rather than pride for her? I draws out the sadness in me when I see her pain, I can relate. Not that I run marathons, but that I have been physically to the edge and felt like I couldn't go any further. Like I wanted to just collapse right there and never get back up. I have felt alone, at the back of the pack. As if I was forgotten cause everyone was to busy to wait or too occupied to notice. I have felt alone, struggling to keep myself upright and push through with no one there to cheer me on. It is lonely, frightening, and the hardest place to dig down deep and capture all that you are and push on.
This photo...this little girl...she gives me the encouragement to do just that; push on and over come. This little girl was the frightened little girl inside of me, and she made it! She concurred, beaten and alone but she did it! And so can I! At the end loving arms were there to embrace her and welcome her back. When I finish this journey of recapturing my strength I know there will be many loving arms to welcome me back too!