A couple of afternoons a week I've been watching the track team train on the field behind our place. There are two runners who always catch my eye. One of them is the boy who is always a few yards ahead of the pack. He's wonderful to watch. He runs like he was born to do it; runs with all the sleek grace of an animal. His arms are always perfectly positioned, shoulders and back straight, and his legs move as if he gives it no thought at all.
But, my favorite to watch is the girl who is, without exception, the last person in the pack. She runs like it's work, like it's strenuous and painful exertion. She pants heavily as her ponytail flops up and down on her back. She runs without appearing to want to catch up to the rest of the pack. She's just doing it. Just running. I often wonder what's going through her mind as she trains.
I know what's going through mine as I watch... besides, "good for you for trying... keep going." As graceful as the lead boy is, I think she's the one who truly understands what's required. I think she gets that it's not about the winning of a thing. It's not about the destination at the end of a thing. And it's most certainly not about being lauded. It's all about the doing of a thing.
It's all about the doing of a thing. Yes. The satisfaction that comes with plain old perseverance. The self-pride that comes not with saying, I'm hanging in there, but with saying, I'm doing it. It's having deep enough belief in oneself that it doesn't matter if your stride matches another's, because the fact is, you have your own stride and that's enough. It's about having the fortitude to not quit. It's about saying, "I'm doing this because I get to." And that's a worthy reason.
I hope the girl who always finishes last keeps running. She inspires me. Alis volat propriis. Every area of our lives has a different level of potential. Fly with your own wings. Run at your own pace. Dream at your own depth. Eventually we all cross the same line anyway, right? Just be your own best. It's all the Universe requires of us.