Today I had the opportunity to encourage about 150 ten-year-old students. The annual 'turkey trot" was underway at the school and I signed up to be a lap counter. As each child ran, walked or yes, one even crawled by me with some charismatic drama, I would mark their sweaty little hands with a dot so they could keep track of the laps they were running.
Some children were fast, running in groups with friends. Some were fast and alone. Some were slow and with friends, but the ones that got to me the most were the ones that were not only slow, but alone.
I was encouraging and cheerful to all of them but this mamma and coaches heart couldn't help but be even more encouraging and cheerful to the ones that were alone.
"I am so proud of you." "You are doing a great job."
I wanted to be their cheerleader and hold them tight and tell them that they weren't truly alone. I wanted to tell them how much they mattered and how important they were.
For just a moment as they each passed by one by one and lap by lap, I grasped their hands tightly as I marked them and I hope I made an impact on them by the words I said.
If only we knew just how special we are. Wouldn't you just run up and join whatever group you wanted? Run as fast as you could with endurance and pride? Hold your head up a little bit higher?
What I didn't witness until the end was something beautiful that I want to leave you with today..
Those kids that were fast and surrounded by friends.. do you know what I saw at least ten do today? As they stopped for me to mark their hands they waited, right next to me and said, as the slow, alone ones approached..
"I am waiting on my friend."
Suddenly those that seemed so alone and forgotten were being waited on by someone who noticed.
And that is what it's all about!