It’s all in Perspective: life lessons from Addie

race for refuge

4:45 am…who would get up at this hour.  I know I’m suppose to be a grown up.  I know I’m suppose to grow into appreciating the phrase “the early bird gets the worm.”  I’m suppose to wake up energized, do a devotion, watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee in hand.  But, the truth is, even though I am in theory an adult, the only part of the “suppose to’s” that actually happens on the regular is the cup of coffee. 

Here’s the real truth…I rarely go to bed at a decent hour, I drink caffeine like I’m still a teenager, and I usually set my alarm to just enough time to run out the door. 

So, when I hear the alarm and I see the glowing numbers 4:45am, my body rebels.  It screams no, no, no!  I attempt to hit snooze, but then I remember that today is unlike any other.  It’s the Race of Refuge.  Who cares if it’s a Saturday, on Labor Day Weekend?  Who cares if my body couldn’t adjust to the shift and decided to stay up the night before?  Who cares that my eyes still burn with the uncertainty of waking up and my throat was still scratchy?  It doesn’t matter because today is a big day.  A day for small sacrifices like waking up early, running errands, and for some, running in the heat. 

About 500 runners showed up in the park to run for The Race for Refuge.  Among them several of my friends who traveled across the state to be there to support me and our cause.  Each runner was given a survivor story, so they would know who they were running in honor of.   For some it was simply a 10K and their focus was their best time, but for most it was about attempting to combat trafficking by coming together and offering awareness.

Among those who showed up to support me was Addie.  Most of you know Addie, after all she provides me with my best material and life lessons.  And this day was no exception.  She showed up decked out in black and pink ready to run with her family.  Her little three year old mind knew little about what the race represented but when questioned, she’d say, “I’m running for girls that were hurt.”  Simple but true. 

It was such a proud moment for an auntie, because not only was she there, but her new baby sister Lydia was also there to stroll through her first 5k. 

I smiled as Addie began telling me about the race.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Me:  Addie, what was your favorite part of the race?

Addie:  The finish line!

Me:  Why is that?

Addie:  It’s always great when I win!

Now, let me clear one thing up.  Addie was nowhere close to the best time.  It’s hard to compete when you’re pushing a stroller and keeping up with a three year old.  But, her perspective was she won.  Crossing the finish line was success for her. 

As I thought about it, I realized Addie had done it again.  Somehow, in her simplistic way she taught me what was truly important.  Too often I cross the finish line without even noticing, because it didn’t happen the way I thought it should or someone beat me to it, or it wasn’t my best time.  I measure my success in comparison with others or with wrong expectations.  I forget that the finish line is the GOAL! 

So, as I think about the race in front of me, I’ll try to remember to keep the finish line, true success in front of me, and just like Addie, I’ll run it with joy.