I’ve told you how proud I was of the men from our church who decided to compete in a triathlon to raise money for a local single mom with three boys, who is down on their luck.
The guys did a great job! The mere fact that they finished the race is fantastic. But, to be honest, I think the most heart-warming moments did not happen when the guys crossed the finish line, although, that was monumental.
Most of the guys’ spouses and kids were able to rise early and attend the triathlon to provide moral support. It was fun cheering the guys on.
Like, Bev, here.
She was right there when Pete crossed the finish line and she beamed with pride.
But, the kids…the kids were the biggest surprise of all. While they waited for their dad, or their dad’s friends, they cheered from the sidelines, even for strangers. It was fun to watch.
So, initially, when Scott came in for the home stretch, they followed the rules of staying close to the curb and cheering from a distance.
But, something happened as time and runners passed.
Just as Pete rounded the corner,
our kids, including the boys for whom the race was being run, slowly,
one by one, moved a little bit away from the curb, closer to the runners.
Cheering Pete on.
Encouraging him to finish strong.
And, because the kids had broken through the invisible boundary line with Pete, it was no-holds-barred when Stan came around the corner!
They could no longer stay on the sidelines and watch these men go by without pushing them to do better.
After Stan’s son had high-fived him, my youngest switched places and ran beside “Mr. Stan” for a few paces.
Like a dance, the children moved in and about, giving way to each other, all the while encouraging the fathers as they ran for the finish line.
The littlest of the group made his way to Mr. Stan’s side.
And, finally the only girl in the group gracefully moved into position….
They felt a sense of pride for these men. They realized this race was more than just about getting back into shape. This race, that their fathers were participating in, was about someone else; the race was about helping someone get back on their feet.
Suddenly, not only had the race become symbolic of bigger things, the children became symbolic, as well.
They began to draft off each other.
They clapped and cheered.
They came alongside.
They encouraged. And laughed.
They were a beautiful picture of what we all need in our lives, especially when we’re down on our luck and/or running the race of a lifetime.
They were a beautiful reminder of how we all need friends and family who are willing to rally around us, to cheer us on, to love us when we’re tired and stinky and sweaty and grumpy and achy…. People willing to run alongside us and tell us, “You can do it! The finish line is just ahead! Keep going! You’re doing great!”
I want to be one of those people who runs alongside….
Encourage one another,