This stretch of road means so much to me. I can barely walk down it without tearing up. There are large pictures of adopted children and posters that say, “RUN FOR MORE” and “YOU DID IT”.
Why? Because at the end of this stretch is the finish line of a half marathon and 5K that benefits adoptive families. Chosen is the organization that puts it on and we ran with them for two years while in the process of adopting Zoe. These people became our friends, our support and really they became like our family. We are huge fans of Chosen in the way they have help us in the past and how they continue to lend their support to so many adoptive families!
Back when Chosen had a marathon (2013) I ran that with our team. Team Tapley Ever After had 15 or so people running for purpose, these friends trained with us and really put their money where their mouth was. Training (suffering) together is real love and there are many memories that I can recall fondly. This stretch of road signified the end of a MARATHON! 26.2 miles! The girls I ran the whole thing with slowed down a bit and allowed me (without my knowledge) to sprint this part out alone. Tears streaming down my face, it signified so much more than the finish of a race. It signified the finish of this incredibly difficult journey, and that my family wasn’t alone in it thanks to our family, friends and Chosen.
The following year was a really tough time in our adoption process. Team Tapley Ever After showed up again, and this time with around 25 people supporting us and running with us! As I ran this stretch of road I began crying out to the Lord that we wouldn’t need to do this for our family again; that next year we could support a different family. Begging Him that next year at this race, Zoe would be home. It wasn’t as beautiful as the year before but it was desperation, asking Him to show me where the finish line would be. It would be 10 months later that Zoe finally arrived home.
And just two months after arriving home in America, Zoe stood at the finish line placing finisher medals around the necks of those having run for a cause much greater than themselves. It was in that moment surrounded by some of my amazingly sweet friends I realized how significant that was. We were finally on the other side of the finish line, and now it was our turn to cheer for those that we running that hard race, to support them as the finished, and to love them through their struggles.
Yesterday was the third year that Zoe was able to medal the finishers, and it never gets old. Seeing people cross the finish line is so incredible. They have just accomplished so much, some run in strong, proud of how they performed, some run in dog tired and beat up (that course is NO JOKE!), others run in full of emotion and my heart understands! The finish line of this particular race is really just an awesome and meaningful place.
Isn’t that us just day to day? Some days I finish and think “Wow I OWNED today! Really! Great Job Jeanette!!” Other days I barely finish the day awake because of how tired I am and then there are the days when I have just too many emotions to even function. I think more than anything this sweet stretch of road reminds me that I am not alone. God is lending His ever present ear to me, I have friends at the finish line cheering me on, reminding me that I am strong enough to finish well.
So my thought is this... How can we do this better? Can we look up from our own race, as tired as we may be, and encourage someone? YES! Can we see that they may be struggling and help them? YES! Can we even grasp that at the end of our race (or challenge) that we will be able to support someone is a whole new way? I Think YES!
So look up, and reach your hand to either be supported or be supportive. And while your eyes are up, take in the scenery it’s a beautiful world we live in!