It was a cold. It was windy. Did I mention it was cold and windy? And, it was the Illinois 4-H State Shooting Sports contest which would determine Illinois' national team. Scattered around the Brittany Park Shooting Sports Park were a hundred kids who really wanted it, really wanted this day to be their day.
Did I mention it was cold and windy?
As I took photos of the top finishers at the end of the day, there were obvious tears of disappointments. They just couldn't help it. They really, really wanted something, and they didn't get it. Did I mention it was cold and windy?
I thought back to other days, days15 years ago, when it was another girl who really wanted something, who tasted victory and wanted each and every time to feast on that the bountiful meal. Relive it with me ...
On Monday, Jenny broke the middle school’s 25-year-old long jump record with a leap of 15 feet—3 1/2 inches. On Wednesday, she couldn’t clear 14 feet. I could see her face from the bleachers when they announced her third-place finish. It wasn’t a look of anger or disappointment; it was pure embarrassment.
“How could I jump so well Monday and so badly Wednesday?” she questioned. Well, sweetheart, not every day is going to be a record-breaking day.
Much of life feels like a Wednesday.
Many days we try hard, put in lots of effort and give it our best just to come in third. Third is a hard pill to swallow for any of us. We want to be first. We want our name in the record books. We want to be known for something.
But life is not a smooth road. It is full of bends and twists and hills and valleys. Some days are just cold and windy.
There’s nothing like that feeling on those days when it all comes together. Those record-setting days stand out in our memory forever. It’s where we go when we need inspiration, when we need reassurance that we’re okay, when we need comfort for our trouble hearts.
On Friday, Jenny broke the school’s high jump record with a jump of 4 feet—10 inches. On Saturday, I woke her up gently, “Good morning track queen . . . it’s time to do laundry.”
“No one lives on the top of the mountain. It’s fine to go there occasionally —for inspiration, for new perspectives. But you have to come down. Life is lived in the valleys. That’s where the farms and gardens and orchards are, and where the plowing and the work is done. That’s where you apply the visions you may have glimpsed from the peaks.”
—Arthur Gordon in A Touch of Wonder