Sometimes in life, you draw the hard course. It's a steep and dirty uphill climb that takes a painful toll on your body. It can fill you with dread and leave you wishing you could trade places with the one whose course is moderate or easy. But with enough faith and perseverance, you eventually reach the finish line grateful for the feeling of accomplishment.
For Caleb, this is a victory even greater than the mere completion of the course. In many ways, he's drawn the hard course in life. But I'm continually grateful for the strides he makes to overcome all that is hard for him physically, socially and emotionally. Just watching him participate in these events is enough to move me to tears.
Well over 2000 high school runners--men and women--participated in yesterday's Three Course Challenge in Seaside, OR. The night prior to the race, each runner reached into a bag to draw a colored poker chip which determined the difficulty of the course they would run the next morning. Caleb was hoping for anything but red.
He reached his hand into the bag and tried to feel the colors. He stirred the chips around and turned a selected chip between his fingers before deciding to trade it for a different one. At last he pulled his hand from the bag to reveal his final choice.
The red chip made his heart sink. "I'm dead," he thought, "I might pass out."
Caleb was not at all excited about drawing the difficult course. He wished he could trade chips with a teammate but life doesn't work that way. We play with the hand we're dealt.
He ran hard through the winding trails, gravelly roads, steep sand hills and mud pits of Camp Rilea--a military base.
The course left his legs feeling like jello as he ran into the finish line.
But a smile of accomplishment crossed his mud-stained face.
Soon enough the dirt and grime are washed away. Sopping shoes are aired out and slimy socks run through the washing machine. But the lessons learned along the hard course are life-changing.
Caleb continues to inspire me as he tackles life's difficult courses.
Way to run hard, Buddy. You make me proud!