Monday, October 22, 2012

The most humbling experience ever...

So yesterday I had one of the most humbling yet exciting experiences ever. What started as an experience that I felt would help some special military members and their families and also help me achieve a personal goal turned into something that was so much more. I had no idea what signing up to run the Army Ten Miler as part of Operation Ward 57's team would mean.
We were first introduced to Operation Ward 57 when my husband was working at Walter Reed as a brand new Army nurse. This wonderful and special group, albeit a small group, is a non-profit organization that comes to the aid of wounded military and their families. I was simply amazed at what I learned from my husband about this group when he started working on Ward 57. I was eventually introduced to the group members for whom I soon gained the utmost respect. The executive director lives clear across the Country yet spends a large portion of her time fundraising and raising the awareness for this unique population. Another woman who is local but works full time and has a family spends countless hours going to visit these hospitalized military members and their families, organizing special "pick me ups" for them and so much more. There is an eleven year old boy who I have learned has such a love and appreciation for those who protect us that he has given of his time to speak on behalf of Operation Ward 57 and be such an inspiration to many!
 Amazing and truly Godsends. I keep thinking about scriptures that speak of angels among us when I think about these individuals and so many more.
When the question was asked about a team for the annual and historic Army Ten Miler, I was so excited and signed up many months ago.
The training began. I was frustrated because between pursuing another degree, working, and taking care of my family, I found that I had little time to actually get out and run. So the treadmill had to work and unfortunately I bore easily. I got through many episodes of Dallas, a few seasons of Knots Landing, and all 3 of my North and South miniseries' (among others) while knocking out miles on my upstairs treadmill, often at 8 or 9pm after dinner, homework, etc had been done. I learned at some point that my science department chair at the school where I teach was also running and had done so for years. Amazing. Such service--a retired Army officer and West Pointer who has for years given so much to so many and yet goes out every year to do this 10 mile run to support those who have fought beside him.
So originally the plan was for my Army officer husband and I to run together as a team. As our luck has it we had babysitter issues and so my precious husband told me to run and accomplish this endeavor and he would be waiting with our daughter at the finish line. We went out on Saturday, got our bibs and packets and picked up awesome shirts from our team's director.
Race day came and we were up early and headed to the Metro to go into DC. Again, as luck would have it, there was track repairs and we were derouted to the shuttle from one metro stop to another and that took up more time. I was worried that we would not even make it to the Pentagon on time. But, we did. I cannot begin to describe the sight I saw as we came up the escalator at the metro stop going to the Pentagon. There was a sea of people..flags..military in uniform...balloons..and lots and lots of excitement. Not to mention, it is a wonderful way to see the beauty of Washington DC. Let's just face it, the Tidal Basin is beautiful that early in the morning with the glory of the fall colors reflected on the water.
Overwhelmed. I was simply overwhelmed at the number of people I saw who were there to SUPPORT OUR MILITARY. It gave me hope that people really do still care. With quick kisses and hugs from my honey and sweet daughter, I went and found my "color" to wait for the start. Finally it was time to start. What I didn't know was that the wounded warriors (who have the strength of a thousand armies) started well ahead of the runners. There were some that were "hand-biking" the 10 miles. My husband said he saw them cross the finish line and described to me what he witnessed. I think every American should see what he described. Love and determination for our Country to beat ALL odds and keep pushing.
At any rate, the race started and I started WAY too fast. Realized quickly that was a bad move and slowed down for a bit then picked it up again. Along the way, I saw Americans lining the streets of DC cheering and supporting every single runner that went by. I saw flags, heared music, reached out and high-fived strangers with signs in support of our military! Amazing. In a world of unrest and political turmoil, so many Americans came together in the cold to support our precious military. There IS hope.
I made it to the finish line. Thankfully and I had tears in my eyes as I saw my sweet husband and daughter cheering me on! Although my muscles hurt today and Ibuprofen is my best friend, it is very small compared to what those who have fought for us and their families have been through. I cannot imagine what some of these wives I have met since living here have been through. I cannot imagine what the precious children of these heroes have been through. And yet, these are the very ones who come keep going to support this wonderful Country and those who serve. Seeing what I saw yesterday certainly puts petty day to day problems into perspective. In a "me" world, it's hard sometimes to see the bigger picture. If you have this problem, come out on Army Ten Miler day. You will definately have a different perspective.
I have to say I CANNOT wait until next year and can only pray I will once again be honored to be on team Operation Ward 57. I have often wondered why we ended up having to come to Washington, DC. Everyday I realize more and more that there was and is a plan. Part of God's plan was to help ME learn better to depend on Him. The other part was to introduce me to some of these wonderful individuals who serve tirelessly to our military in so many ways. I have met other wives in the Army Officer Wives Club of Washington, DC who welcomed me into the community and loved me. I have worked along side of military families at school and Christian educators who love our Country and have encouraged me. I have worked along side 3 precious nurses at school who have nurtured, loved, and supported my family and me. I have had the opportunity to be in the classroom with teenagers who ARE our future--and working with these young adults, I have been given renewed hope in the future of our Country. They are amazing (but I also know they come from amazing families--the apples do not fall far from the tree, thank goodness!) Also, I have worked with wonderful forensic nurses who work endless (outside of the spotlight) hours to serve those who are injured and hurt. How awesome is this?
So the point of this journal entry is this--I spent a great portion of last week (and several weeks prior) feeling overwhelmed, downtrodden, and just plain out aggravated that life was so busy and I was so busy. Then yesterday happened and all of that nonsense just seems quite petty. I am ashamed to say that it took something like what I witnessed yesterday to put some of that into perspective. I am so proud to be the wife of a 21 year Army soldier. I am also very proud to be living in American, despite the current problems we see (I am watching the last Presidential debate as I type.) America is and always will be the most wonderful place to live.

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