The Gift of Your Presence

I am running the most arduous part of the race-the last half-mile.

It is now when I’m counting my breaths, struggling to find air inside my lungs.

It’s now when I ache for the finish line to be beneath my pounding feet.

It’s now when I sometimes feel limited by the weakness of low blood sugar and taste a rolling tear slide across my lips.

It’s now that I imagine myself later this afternoon, reflecting on this exact moment and how I will be able to say it wasn’t so impossible after all.

It is now, in the most challenging half-mile when I need people like you.

The unexpectedness of your presence makes your shouts of encouragement, first to strangers and then a louder ”woo hoo!” to me, even more special


Because of your presence, this race will stand out in my mind.


The salt of my tears slips from the corners of my blue-greys to my scarlet cheeks, continuing down my neck, sticky with 2.6 miles of sweat.

This time, the tears don’t come because of physical limitations, but because of the heart’s emotion, because I am proud of you for being proud of me. I am proud of you for

gifting me with your presence when no one asked you to give anything.

Your hearty claps urge me to finish strong instead of giving in to the burning sensation in my legs screaming at me to stop.

Your claps say to me “yes! Yes you can reach the finish line that seems so far away.”

They tell me of your desire for me to be successful--successful in completing these 3.1 miles and successful in everything else I pursue in life.

During the last moments of the race, in the last half-mile,

I remember your shiny white smile

as I contemplate how much you

believe these things for me

and when I sprint across the

finish line

I wonder—

Do you believe

these things

for yourself,

 how much, in life, you can be?


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