Yesterday, I had the sweetest conversation with my five-year-old nephew. I got to pick him up from school which it is still so weird being on the parent side of the afternoon car rider line. I was a teacher for eight years and never once did I have afternoon car rider duty but was able to observe it from time to time and it always struck me as a very well oiled machine. When my nephew got in the car I asked him what he learned and he told me he got to take a “bubble test”. This made me smile especially when it hit me that he meant a standardized test answer form where the answers must be bubbled in. I remember thinking to myself, “Boy, he is growing up!” This somehow led into a conversation about the superhero run that he is doing this weekend. He is so excited and told me this is the farthest he has ever gone. I had my eyes on the road and not looking at him, but I knew he was wide eyed with a big smile on his face. I could hear it in his voice. I assured him I would be at the finish line and he asked me why. I told him, “I am so proud of you and want to be there to cheer you on!” This conversation had slipped my mind until my run this morning, so when I got home, I shared this story with my family. I told his mom that she is doing an awesome thing by running/walking with him and he will remember this for a long time. My nephew not only talked about the run but he also talked about his recent walks with my dad. My dad has been babysitting more and more and took my nephew on a two-mile walk (1-2x over the last few weeks). My nephew enjoyed this as he told me every detail about the walks. I also shared this with my dad and told him he is doing a good thing by walking with my nephew. It is funny things we do with others that in the moment we don’t realize how impactful they really are. Four years ago, I was dating Lee and had only been living in my neighborhood with him for a few months. I can’t even remember now how this happened, but I agreed to run the Beaufort Twilight Run (BTR) with a girl in fourth grade. Lee was good friends with her parents and thus I was becoming friends with them too. I had run this 5k before and the last time I did I injured myself, so I was very happy to have a reason to slow down and run the race for someone else. I remember that run very well and it took me back to the days when I taught at Port Royal Elementary School and headed up the Girls Run Club. For most of the run, the girl was behind me and needed a lot of pushing. Then when she realized we were nearing the end, she found a second wind and grabbed my hand and pushed me over the finish line. That made for some fun finish line photos! I was so proud of her!! Fast forward a few years, and this same girl now runs track and cross country for her school!!! She is in eighth grade. Last year, she started texting me when she would place and win. Her parents shared with me that when she is done with a race she is immediately texting me. She finished her cross country season last year by placing third in state I believe. I had the privilege of helping her keep her running up over the off season this past winter and now she is gearing back up for track and before she knows it cross country will be right around the corner. I certainly had no idea how big of a deal it was for me to run with her at BTR four years ago and now, looking back, I am so thankful I did that. I love working with children and making a difference and I am so thankful that I am still able to do this without being a classroom teacher.
I am sharing this story with you because I want to encourage you to do things for others as simple as the things may seem to you because you just never know what it will do for the other person. God has gifted each one of us with a special talent and we are to use that talent to share with others. We are also called to love our neighbors so start loving your neighbors by sharing your talents with them. Do what you can. Start where you can. It might not be running a race with your neighbor’s child, but it could be starting a conversation up with a neighbor or going on a walk together. You could bring a meal over or invite your neighbor for a meal. If we all did more of this more often, just think of how much better our world would be. Start small and start where you are. The smallest actions to you could be the biggest for the other person.