Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bring On The Rain

The late Friday afternoon skies held the promise of rain with five shades of dark clouds hovering over the tops of the mountains. It was a good day for a race.

I was giddy with the anticipation of finally attending one of Coolister and ElemenoB's cross-country meets because nothing thrills me more than to see my kids thriving at the things I loved when I was their age.

Coolister's goal was to beat his most recent time on this same course - which he did by almost a full minute. I like to believe this had something to do with the maniacal screaming of his mother racing from place to place to cheer him on at the sidelines. (Humor me.)

ElemenoB's goal was to beat her personal best time by one second. She started strong, running in a tight pack with her teammates in the first stretch. By the time she came back around to where I was waiting, she had pulled ahead some. I screamed encouraging words and she smiled.

The next time I saw her, however, things were different. She was running at a slower pace than usual. I noticed that she was talking with a girl from another team and as they ran past me, she smiled again. I continued to watch her and cheer her on.

Each time ElemenoB looped past me on the course I caught snatches of her conversations with this same stranger from another school: Keep it up, you can do it. Just keep running. Don't stop now. The two of them stuck together throughout the race and as they came in for the finish the girl passed ElemenoB up and placed just ahead of her.

We checked ElemenoB's time... almost a full minute more than her personal best. "That's a lot better than I thought I did," she told me. I asked who the girl was and why ElemenoB had run with her instead of at her usual speed. She responded that the girl had begun to walk and seemed to need some encouragement. So encouragement was offered throughout the remainder of the race - even at the end when the girl passed her up.

Why? Because ElemenoB tells me that she gets more satisfaction at the end of a race from knowing she helped someone else finish than from improving her own time.

There are so many lessons to be learned from that.

A few tears escaped from the overflowing reservoir beneath my eyes, thankfully sheltered behind my sunglasses.

And so the rain did come, but not in the way I had expected. And it was beautiful.


Autumn said...

I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I need to tell you your homecoming story cracks me up and that strange puppet show was so funny. I thought of you the other day when I walked pass my car and the lights flashed on and off right as I came into it's view. It's clear my van has a crush on has nothing to do with pressing the unlock button and the lights being programmed to flash.

Sarise said...

your kids are such good examples! Way to be a good parent and instill such qualities in them. :)

~j. said...

Your kids, and their mom, are so inspiring.

Rebecca said...

That almost makes me want to run. I would definitely need someone like E. to encourage me!

Cami said...

Can I just tell you how much I love EllemenoB? Seriously! She is amazing.

cari said...

Okay, that clinches know, what we talked about the other day? The whole "betrothed" thing? :)

She is totally awesome!

Katie said...

Like I've said before, your kids are amazing. Your family is amazing. Enough said. :)

Anaise said...

Please tell your sweet girl that she's a great example . . . and I'm using her story for our devotional today.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome kid. Such a great lesson about the secondary importance of competition and the primary importance of compassion and friendship and the things that really matter. Good work, Momma Gerb.