This morning was supposed to be an easier run in my half marathon training schedule. After an 8 miler on Sunday, the four that I was running today should have been a piece of cake. But it wasn’t.
I was tired this morning and just couldn’t get motivated to get out the door, so it was already hot and humid when I took those first few strides. My muscles were still sore and I wasn’t feeling that little surge of joy I normally feel when my feet hit the pavement.
Plus, to add insult to injury, about two miles in my air pods died! Now, all I had to listen to was the huffing and puffing of my own breath and the thudding of my own heart.
I turned down a side road and glanced down at my watch. Just over a mile to go and I was feeling exhausted. I had already convinced myself that I just could’t do it today, so I made a little deal with myself.
Make it to three miles and then you can walk the last mile, if you need to.
Deal. Easy out.
I took a deep breath and glanced down the long road, picking a point father away to focus on when an older man on the other side of the road caught my eye.
“Second lap.” He smiled and gave me a thumbs up. “Way to go! Keep it up!”
That little bit of encouragement was all that I needed.
“Thank you!” I huffed and waved as I picked up my pace and headed down the road.
I hadn’t seen him tending his yard when I was on my way out, but he must have seen me the first time I turned down that road earlier in my run. I made it to the turn around and another glance at my watch told me I was almost at three miles. Maybe I could make it the entire four miles after all.
I rounded the corner and saw the older gentleman still standing in his yard.
“How far are you running today?”
“Four miles. Almost done.” I said, feeling encouraged.
“Wow! Great job! That takes some time and commitment. Good work!” He said as I went past.
“Thank you!” I panted and headed up the last big hill of my run, determined to finish the four miles strong.
Sometimes, we feel defeated and need someone to come along side and speak a word of encouragement into our weary hearts at just the right moment to give us that little boost we need to keep going. Today, that man reminded me of the power of cheering someone on.
He didn’t know me. He simply saw someone who needed a kind word and offered it without hesitation.
Be that guy.
Friend, every day we encounter people who need a smile, a kind word, and a little affirmation.
I want to be a cheerleader, a spirit lifter, and a thumbs up giver. I want to be the kind of woman who sees the weary and exhausted and offers them a smile. I want to be the kind of person who sees the defeated and speaks a word of hope and life. I want to be the kind of human who makes the world a little bit better by the kindness I offer to the hurting and struggling.
Let’s be the one known for lifting others up. Let’s be the woman who is known for propelling others forward and spurring them on. Let’s be the guy who gives a thumbs up and tells the stranger that they are doing a good thing and that we believe in them.
You never know what a difference it could make in someone’s day.