And Yet She Runs (Repost)

I  first posted this in February of 2012. I am reposting it because today was Emma’s last race for her Cross Country team. She is a senior and will graduate in June. The course was 3 miles with lots of up hills. She was the last girl to cross the finish line. She ran it in 37:43. So she wouldn’t be all alone, a team mate and the coach ran the last 1/2 mile with her. It was a very sweet moment. 

Emma was happy with the way she ran but sad that this was her last race. My first thought was why are you sad? Are you sad that you don’t have to get up a 5:15 every morning?  Will you miss being last all the time? Then I thought of this post and it reminded me why her love for running will always be a mystery to me.  She inspires me. The following  is the post:

 

I went to pick up my daughter yesterday after track practice. She is a sophomore in high school and on the JV track team. I arrived early and was sitting in the car. As I was scanning the area looking for her, I spied a lone runner off in the distance. As the runner got closer I realized that it was my Emma.  The other runners were far ahead of her. As she ran by me she gave a cheerful wave and said she would be done soon.

As I watched her, it reminded me of how proud I am of her, of how her love of running is a mystery to me. She can, and has, run fast. But even her fastest leaves her last in most races and far behind her teammates in practice. And yet she runs.

This time of year she runs twice a day at school. She must rise early and be at practice by 6:30am. She is tired in the morning but gets up with a happy smile because she gets to run. Once there she runs for an hour then cleans up and goes to class. At the end of the school day she has 2 more hours of running. She is weary and yet she runs

Her teammates are kind and accepting but not inclusive. So, for most of the time Emma is on the perimeter of things, always on the outside looking in. And yet she runs.

To the outsider sometimes it appears that she is running so slow that she isn’t getting anywhere.  When I mention this to her she says that she will try harder next time. When I tell her she needs to keep up with her teammates she tells me she will. And when I harp and nag about it, she will look at me and tell me that’s enough, I don’t want to talk about it.  Which reminds me that she is doing her best.

On the weekends she runs in the neighborhood. To her it doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold. Her running is solitary as is much of her life. And yet she runs.

As I watch her run I often think, how many people would still run if they always came in last? How many would still love running?  Who would still be on a team where you are never really accepted? And yet she runs.

To love something so fully, that what people think, doesn’t matter. To do it, with disregard for the outcome, just because you love it, that’s where true happiness comes in. That’s what Emma is teaching me.

What makes this incredible to me is that my dear sweet Emma is Autistic.  Many things are difficult for her. I never thought she would ever want to run. I guess there is a freedom in the running for her. Emma once told me she loves the feeling of the wind when she runs, it makes her feel like she is flying.

I am so very glad she found something that makes her happy, something that brings her a sense of accomplishment. I hope she always has this love for running, that no matter what people say she will keep running and at the end of the day I can still say “And Yet She Runs.”

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My Prize

I believe that good things come to those who wait. But those who wait must have patience. And patience is not for the faint of heart my friend. You must have the fortitude to wait the hours, days, and in my case years, for what you yearn for.

In this world that we live in, we value instant gratification. We want what we want and we want it now! Waiting patiently is becoming a lost art. Who teaches us that we have to wait? The Internet gives us instantly what we need. Want a shirt? Buy one now. Want the news? You got it. Want to eat dinner fast? Go to the nearest fast food place, you don’t even have to get out of your car.

The art of waiting is something that you have to work on, it’s not easy.  Matter of fact it’s never easy.  That’s what makes the prize at the end of your waiting so wonderful.

I have waited for years (16 of them) to become deliriously, unabashedly, gloriously happy.  All right maybe I got carried away a bit, but after 16 years I think I have earned the right. I have had patience through many long days and even longer nights. I have cried myself to sleep more nights then I care to remember, and in the deep of the night when I had run out of tears I would try to sooth myself by repeating, just wait a bit longer, things will get better.  I told myself not to give up. I told myself not to give in. So I waited. And after several years I became content, happy with what I had and I tried not to pine for what I dreamed of. It didn’t mean I stopped wanting and dreaming. It meant I was just waiting. Waiting for God’s perfect timing. He does have perfect timing you know. It’s just that God and I weren’t working in the same time zone. What for me were years of waiting, to God were minutes. 

The dreams that I had were simple, I’m sure much like your own: someone to love me; someone to accept my children (4 of them); and to know that when he hitched his wagon to mine we would always have an extra passenger, my autistic daughter Emma. I had no thoughts as to what this man would look like. I had thoughts to what he would BE like.  He MUST be funny. I have had too much sadness and I just want to laugh. He MUST be confident in our love. He MUST be understanding.  These two things go together. What I mean by that is, I loved my first husband, he left me a widow far too soon and friends who loved him surround me, so he will always in some small way be part of my life. I needed a man who could understand this and accept it. Not an easy request. He MUST be patient with me. I have been alone a long time and have control issues (I like to tell people what to do). He MUST make me happy. Quite the list, to be sure.

Of course, this list was nothing for God.  He had found the perfect person for me. He was waiting for the perfect time to introduce us. He wanted my children to be older and self-sufficient. He wanted me to have Emma in a good place with a caregiver to watch over her when I went out. He wanted me to have time to bask in my newfound love. So He waited too. And when the time was right we met.

I could not have asked for a more perfect man for me and I love him. He made all the years of waiting melt away and all my lonely nights but a distant memory. He makes me feel loved and cared for. Something I haven’t had in a very long time. He has seen me at my worst and miracle of miracles he still loves me.

So yes, I believe good things come to those who wait and I thank God for His perfect timing.  I have found my prize.