Yesterday my day started out just like most of yours probably if you are in the Charlotte area…RAINY!  I am training for a half marathon and the training schedule had me running 6 miles.  Needless to say, I was hesitant to get out in the rain!  But, I had said that I would run in a 5 K for a local kid in Cabarrus County called Wheels for Forest 5K.  I had planned on running the 5K and then continuing on to finish 3 more miles to complete the miles I needed to run.  The race was literally 1/2 mile from my house.  For this reason, I dragged my sluggish behind out the door.  It was drizzling..UGH!  Then the road was blocked for the race, so I had to go all the way around the block.  Then there was no parking!  I was really starting to think I was going to pack it in and head home.  But, again that nagging committment thing in the back of my head.  I actually had no one to run with though.  I was only going because a friend was sponsoring the race.  I wanted to support the cause she chose to support.  Without someone to meet, this was even harder with which to stick.  So, with the one last stitch of motivation I had, I found a parking space and ran down at the very last second to register. 

This race was small to measure against others, but to be put together by 1 teenager it was a big accomplishment – HUGE.  She had several dozen local sponsors and I think there were approximately 150 runners over the course of the morning.  Again, I didn’t know anyone so I popped my ear buds in and waited.  They had delayed the race 15 minutes for the wheel chair race to happen and because of rain.  Another inconvenience for me, but again I was there, I was doing this.

Finally, the race was going to start.  It was then my own agenda and purpose began to melt…the yoga started to happen…I got out of my head and CONNECTED to say the least.  They had a prayer by a local pastor where he thanked all involved and thanked Forest, the young man behind the whole event.  There was the light bulb!!  “This is not about you, Jessica, it is about something bigger”.  Forest is a teenager in a wheelchair.  His family was in need of a van to transport him and his wheelchair.  When I opened my eyes from the prayer, I could see Forest (he was front and center for the whole thing and he took his wheelchair up and down the greenway to cheer for everyone).  He had a huge smile on his face.  Then the girl that organized the event started the race.  As I ran, I though of the girl that organized the event.  How much she committed and gave to produce an event this big for someone she met and when needing her help she gave it.  She gave selflessly and fully – INSPIRIED – run got easier!  I thought about Forest and the struggles he has had to deal with in the course of his life.  I bet a little rain was the least of his worries and actually he was there in the rain and all smiles.  INSPIRED some more – run feeling great.  And, then I thought of his mother and father.  I actually didn’t see or meet them or know anything about them.  But, as a parent myself, I thought about what the struggles have been for them.  Providing for his special needs, mentoring him through the hard times, worrying but being full of love.  I thought about what their hearts must feel like this morning to have all these people here running for Forest – a boy who cannot run from himself, but who has inspired so many to run today by the light he shines on the world.  And, there came the tears.  But, what beautiful tears!  I let go of everything right there.  I ran to the finish line.  Grabbed a water, looked back at the crowd, and acknowledged how happy I was to have been a part of it; And, I kept on running.  It was a GREAT run by the way.

So, this is what it is all about…connections to other people.  This is YOGA – the yoking, the union, the understanding of that connection.  Some days we ask why we run or come to yoga.  We feel sore or feel a little discomfort as move towards our edges.  I say that Forest is why we do it.  We do it for him.  We do it for people who cannot do it themselves.  We do it for the people who don’t do it for themselves.  We do it for the people that would and will do it for themselves once the realize they can!  We do it because we can; because we are blessed with the ability to move our legs, fold forward, stand on our hands.  And, all the little aches, edges, and tweaky knees are just reminders that we are human.  That we are flawed, and we havelimitations; but, by doing the work and letting our abilities shine we move out of a place of a flawed being and into a place of light.  Forest knows this.  His wheelchair is a daily reminder of his limitations, but by moving past his wheelchair and shining for the inside, he inspired an entire race that will change his life (and others) forever. 

So, anyway, good Saturday 🙂  Made for a great weekend spent with my kiddos.  Gratitude to those that organized the event, those that sponsored it, and for those in my life that helped me be there.

If you would like to learn more about Forest and his journey as well as the race check out this link:  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/09/16/2613456/girl-plans-5k-to-raise-money-for.html

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