It's track season. How is this different than cross country season? Instead of running through the woods, they now run on a track in circles. Either way, I'm sitting at an athletic event every week. I've started begging her to become an agoraphobic nerd. Then she'll never want to leave the house. She has sadly informed me it's not gonna happen.
Last week she ran the 2 mile event. Just for your information, that's 8 circles of running. I get tired just watching her. It's a good thing there are bleachers so I can sit and rest.
She and one other girl were the only team members running this event. She told me later that her team mate had moved here recently from a small town. She didn't know many people and she was incredibly nervous. So, they ran. All 8 circles.
Sam crossed the finish line and bent over to catch her breath. She stood for a few seconds and caught my eye. And then, she did the most amazing thing. She started walking back down the track.
Her team mate was the last runner out there. And she was far, far behind. Almost a full lap. So, Sam walked. And walked. Until she reached this girl. And then she started running. With her. All the way to the finish line.
There wasn't any fanfare when these 2 girls crossed the line. Most people had moved on to other things by then. The team coaches were no where to be found. This moment in time went fairly unnoticed. But not to me. My eyes were on this girl with laser precision. She. Moved. Me.
Sam later commented that it "was no big deal". I really don't think she thought much of what she'd done. She seemed to shrug it off as something of ordinary value. When in truth, it was anything but.
Last night I stood at the railing in yet another stadium, watching another 8 circle run. After screaming, "Pump your arms!" as she ran by, a woman appeared next to me. She asked if I was Sam's mom. When I confirmed that I was, she proceeded to explain how moved she was by last week's race. How much of an example Sam had been to her when she ran side-by-side with her team mate. This woman even talked about her on Facebook.
To be honest, I didn't respond to her at first. I don't often get compliments about my kids. So I didn't know how to react. I simply blinked a few times before pulling it together. I was that stunned.
The actions of this 16 year old girl have taught me something. The smallest of moments can be the most extraordinary. The smallest of decisions, the quickest of choices, can change the world. Not the whole world. But someone's. Maybe a lot of someone's.
It lies within us all. That ability to reach out and do good. To be more than our selves. To take the moment to walk back down that track, to reach the one who runs alone. And to run by her side to the finish. Seems to me, that's the perfect kind of race. The kind where winning is determined by what you do with your heart. And by who you truly are.
May we try today to be extraordinary.