On Saturday, our Varsity Cross Country team competed in the state Cross Country meet. None of our boys placed. However, during the race an opponent passed out on the course. Several athletes passed the student until one of Union's athletes stopped to help him up and helped him finish the race. Here's a copy of the letter the injured athlete's mother wrote our athletic department....
Hi- I am a mom of an Edmond Memorial student and my son participated in the XC state race last Saturday. From the bottom of my heart, I want toTHANK your boys cross country team!!! One of your runners stopped during the race to help my son who had passed out from not being able to breathe. He helped him up and told him "you can do this!" with one of our Memorial parents watching. Because of him, my son, [My son] was able to cross the finish line. [He] was carried from the finish line to the medical tent and later left in an ambulance. Several of the Union runners came over to the medical tent to let our team know they were praying for us that day. In the midst of chaos and panic, your boys were a source of light on that field and I will be forever grateful!!!
Don't you just know the parents of this Union Cross Country athlete have walked along the proverbial sidewalk with him pointing out and exemplifying compassion and empathy so that even during the most important race of his (albeit) short life, he would stop and offer assistance to another.
I often say this job, this role, this God-given gift of parenting is the hardest and easiest thing I have ever done. I can empathize with the dad who has to halt at the door to grant his son a semblance of independence and integrity; my heart shuffles along with him as he walks away. I hope he doesn't worry, but I know the unhealed wound of disappointment. At the same time, I am standing proudly with the parents who raised our student-athlete. Showing up - walking that sidewalk, it's often the easiest act to do standing parallel only to those moments when it is the most difficult thing to do.
As the father this morning walked along the glass separating him from his precious boy, I thought about my God. He, like this earthly father, has the ability to walk inside the building with us, controlling our every move, but instead he is the reassuring figure watching from the glass making sure we have chosen the right path, ready to enter should we make the wrong turn, accepting our nod of recognition, walking dutifully, quietly on the sidewalk of my life - Such a paradox - the times I shouldn't be independent and the times I choose to be. I saw him shuffling away from me to stand in the parking lot until I run back to him. It's what good fathers do.
"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be...." 1 Peter 5:2