Sunday, August 29, 2010

I have finished the race

I know, I know. You've all wondered where I've been and how I could marry off a daughter and take a son to college without a single word on the blog. Well, I've been thinking. And, thinking. And, thinking.

What does one say when someone who has lived her life solely for her children finds herself without a child in the house?  My children are my life. Their activities alone filled my social calendar. They have been my confidants; I their cheerleader. They have been my companion; I their buyer of track shoes. They wiped my tears as I wiped theirs.

On August 14, my daughter, Jenny, married the love of her life, Scott. On August 19, I took my son, Wil to college --- and left him (or he left me may be more appropriate).

So what do I say?
"I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

There were times over the years I wanted to give up, give in. You've been there, too, I know. Life is hard, too hard, at times. There is never enough money. Anger robs us of joy. Evil sways us to be ugly to others. It seems that as soon as one challenge is met, another is waiting to take its place.

I didn't cry at Jenny's wedding because I finished the race. I saw parenthood through to the end when I handed her over to someone else whose job it now is to care for her. (He has to buy her track shoes now.) This is the moment I worked so hard for all those years of raising her.

I didn't cry when I left Wil. Okay, I did, but not when I left. I cried when I kept trying to help him (get the room organized and get the computer working and get the electronics hooked up) and he didn't want me to. He was ready for me to leave so he could do for himself what I kept trying to do for him.

He knew what I needed to learn. I had finished the race ... whether I knew it yet or not.

He had become the young man I raised him to be.
He knew it. I didn't until that moment he said, "I can do that when you're gone."

I found this story on the Trinity United Reformed Church of Visalia, Calif. website.

It was 7 p.m. on October 20th, 1968. Only a few spectators remained in the Mexico City Olympic Stadium. The winner of the 26 mile marathon had crossed the finish line more than an hour ago, and now, the last of the marathon runners were across the finish line and leaving the track. As the last few spectators began to leave, those sitting by the entrance suddenly heard the sound of sirens. One last runner appeared at the entrance. The man, whose leg was bloody and bandaged, was wearing the colors of Tanzania. The Tanzanian runner, experiencing intense pain, hobbled around the 400 meter track in the stadium, and the few remaining spectators rose and applauded him as though he was the winner. After crossing the finish line he slowly walked off the field without turning to the cheering spectators. In view of his injury, and having no chance of winning any medal, a curious spectator asked him why he did not quit the race. The Tanzanian runner replied, "My country did not send me 7000 miles to start the race, but sent me 7000 miles to finish it."
So, don't worry that I'm sad. I'm celebrating my victory lap.

Photo credit: Who knows. Whoever had the camera at that moment during the wedding.


Jenny Mae said...

You finished the race and came in first! You are a wonderful mother and I could not have asked for anyone better. Love the article, Mom!!!

Anonymous said...

Great story. Glad that you are taking time to celebrate your huge accomplishment and didn't limp off the field without looking back to acknowledge your own huge undertaking. We rarely have people in the stands to cheer for us, so sometimes we need to do it for ourselves.