Tonight I went to my first cross country meet – camera in hand, of course. I had no idea where the track went, what direction they would be running in, or how they would be facing relative to the sun. I just went out hoping for the best, and I got so much more than that. I got the very best from each and every runner, giving their all every inch of the way.
But perhaps none more so than the young lady above.
This has been kind of a crummy year for me. My wife has spend nearly 25% of it in the hospital (which goes a long way toward explaining why posts here are so few and far between). It’s been a struggle for us both and my emotions have hit pretty low from time to time, wondering what I’m struggling for when ground just seems to keep getting lost. I’ve spent much of the year depressed, angry and frustrated, and desperately trying not to let my wife know my feelings lest she think it’s her fault.
And I’m sitting off to the side of the track at the top of an agonizingly steep hill, snapping photos, and this runner comes into view. She is obviously in agony, this being over halfway through the course and the most difficult moment of it. She is sobbing, but not from disappointment – from determination. It is the will to go forward with every ounce of strength that carries her up the hill and through the course, ahead of many of her competitors. Later I happened to meet her mother quite by accident, and discovered she has issues with her knees that must cause each step in this race to cause frightful pain.
I don’t know this young woman’s name, will likely never see her again. But I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the example she set for me in the brief moment I watched her race, or thank her enough for the inspiration that she gave me.