A drive to a day certain to hold sorrow; a family now feeling a void, a hole. They were glistening in the stillness, their message of forever love; one a distance away, symbolic of another now watching from above. Their messages wouldn’t erase the grief taking place, but their energy spreading faith and hope. That even when someone physically is out of sight they do not permanently go.
At first it was a wheelchair, and then it was standing tall; special wrappings on the legs and someone behind ensuring there wouldn’t be a fall. Hundreds of others running past strong on two legs; able to easily step in a running pace. Did others see his will, his strength, what effort it may have taken for him to be at the turn? Did anyone else imagine his story, of if watching us hurt? In gratitude for the body that was about to see me through; running 13 more miles my capability to do.
Holding a sign for those that wanted someone to steady their gait; follow whichever time was the right pace. Always noticed in runs before but had I ever appreciated their role? The arm strength they must brandish to keep a steady flow. Cheerleaders in words, beacons without a sound; the encouragement and assurance for runners who might doubt. Steady steps and guidance, perhaps a friendship after crossing the line. These pacers ensuring many learn within themselves they are not the quiting kind.
Givers of time, of music, of a smile or a “you can” as they read a bib. “Spectator” doesn’t begin to describe their gifts. It may be a song that makes a tiring body want to dance. Or it is a high five “way to go” of the hand. It is a sign that reads “great job total stranger” when a few miles remain. Or the sign meant to move runners from their serious place. “All this work for a banana at the finish line”; at less than a mile to go a reminder “the end you will soon find”. It is the lady standing with her walking canes, another angel to whisper “appreciate your ability to complete this race”. It’s the family offering water, Gatorade, cheers, and the perfect song “moving on down the road, and the “almost there” and “only 2 miles to go”. Judgement doesn’t exist, compassion the leader of the day. Inspiration and belief in one another the themes at play.
A cheerful voice with a radiant smile. Though I anticipate she has been on her feet for a while. Not just the morning, but days, weeks, years; serving others and not an end in near. Hard working, perhaps sore feet and sore back but “can’t stop” her backbone to brace; is she ever noticed outside of her family and friends for her caring grace?
Once again a note – it seems to resonate with my soul to do when I travel from and to home. Included in the message “thank you for being you” along with an extra tip. That at least for today she did not feel insignificant my wish. I will not know her reaction, yet I “know” it was the right action to take. To let another know they are appreciated for the difference they make.
Like a tree that provides shade, shelter, a wind break or the promise of new beginnings each Spring. Never saying a word yet communicating so many things. Strangers are there for us to see; not inconsequential their purpose to be. Messengers in many forms are there to guide us through, two-legged, four, winged – all reasons to be on our path too. If we are open to peace, to love, to joy, hope, and faith, we will notice these angels every step we take. I may not see the watchful swan, paralyzed gentleman, pacers, race supporters, or waitress again physically. But the world will through me. Not because of this blog, though that plays a part too; but because of the imprint they have left fueling my gratitude.
Is there a stranger standing beside you – do you notice that person in front of you waiting in line? Or that person sitting at a table to your right? Without speaking any words what might they have to say? Do you hear a whisper from your soul today? Is it nudging you to appreciate, laugh, feel joyful, or trust? Listen close for each person that crosses our path a must. Opportunity to teach us or us to teach in return. Every person each other’s messenger.