My friend, Melissa, ran in the St. George Marathon yesterday. I had the opportunity to go down to St. George and cheer her on as she crossed the finish line. I didn't expect to learn the lesson that I learned, and honestly I didn't realize that I was going to find myself so emotional (let's be honest, I've become an emotional freak...)
As Melissa's mom, dad, sister, and I were about to walk out the door to go meet up with Melissa along the race course we gathered in the dining room for "family" prayer. Her mom said the prayer, and she said something that struck me so so so hard. She said something like "Help us to meet up with Melissa, along the course, when she thinks it will be the hardest for her. Help us to be there for her, to cheer her on, and help her keep going."
It was like all of these light bulbs were going off in my head at that point and I knew it was going to be a day of learning for me.
I had this little analogy going through my head all day long. We're all running a marathon, a marathon of life. There are going to be times in our run where we know that we're going to make it, there will be times when we feel that we can't go on anymore, there will be ups and downs. We will feel every emotion possible, we'll feel exhilarated, exhausted, and ill. There will times when we feel like we're all alone, but then we look to the side, and we see someone who is going through the exact same thing we are. Perhaps they're not feeling so alone, or tired, and we see their enthusiasm, the spring in their step, and the smile on their face, and we feel that maybe we can go on a little more. But, when we reach that point where our marathon is the hardest, where we really just want to give up, we may just need someone standing on the sidelines cheering us on. Telling us that we're almost to the end, that we've got this, that we can do it. Guess what, we have someone who is doing that. Not only at the hard parts, but at the good parts too! We have a ever so loving Heavenly Father who only wants the best for us. He wants us to make it, and he is willing us to the end. Not only that, there are people all around us who are cheering us on! Sometimes it's our family, our friends, our neighbors, other times it is a stranger.
Guys, as I stood at the finish line of the St. George Marathon, I was almost bawling several times (emotional freak I tell ya). Watching as these people looked up and saw the finish line, quickly followed by a glowing smile, and that added spring in their step. There were people who had to be at least 80 years old running through that finish line, I watched as people limped through pain to cross. I watched as people willed the crowd to cheer them to the end, knowing that they just needed that extra help. As I walked from mile 24 to the finish line with my friends sister we saw people who would run along side their friends to give them encouragement, people cheering for strangers, giving an encouraging word, signs were posted along the course to encourage family members when they couldn't be there physically.
Seriously! What an amazing place to learn a lesson! Remember, you're never alone! Someone is always cheering you on, and will be there at the end of your marathon to say, good job, you did it! If you're wondering how you could be that cheer leader to someone, maybe just smile at a stranger, send a note to a friend who may be struggling, always let those you love know how much you love them. You don't have to jump the fence and run the race with them, but you could do that too.