On Facebook yesterday, the inspirational John Young posted this:
Thinking back to elementary school I was trying to remember those "playground pick-em" games. Was I usually one of the last people picked? Of course I was. You know what though, I often remember the person who was 2nd last was usually more bummed than I was. Was being picked last a bad thing? Nope!! It taught me, you shouldn't get picked by who your friend is, you get picked on your merit. If speed and skill was important, I was down the list. It was a FACT. If people picked me because they felt sorry for me, what would that teach me? The important thing was to rotate who got to do the picking. And that's what I remember. I got to be the picker lots of times. And you know who I chose first? THE FASTEST KID! Thinking to today though, would I still be picked last where speed was concerned? You bet I would be. Would I be picked last where ENDURANCE is concerned? HECK NO!!
A powerful Facebook discussion followed about how so many of us internalized the experience of being chosen last for team sports. In my memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility," I share the emotional and physical toll that contracting paralytic polio at age 5 had on my life. Those experiences along with 9 years of unrelenting physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of family members could have broken me and it almost did over 7 years ago now.
But something inside of me called me to break out of those beliefs. Training for and running the 2009 Boston Marathon helped me move beyond the taunts and jeers of my youth. It helped me to connect with the Truth of who I am.
From my memoir, the article "Running with God" which appeared in Cape Healing Arts Magazine:
I felt God’s presence as a long forgotten childhood memory surfaced. Cries from my childhood of ‘easy out’, ‘we don’t want her on our
team,’ ‘what’s wrong with her anyway?’ melted away. I remembered the day in gym when we were playing kickball and the entire outfield moved in as they always did when I was up. All of a sudden, I connected with the ball and ended up kicking a home run because there was no one in the outfield! I decided that today was a day for another surprise. I told God I wanted my daughter to be proud of me.
We were in perfect physical and spiritual harmony. Our feet moved in perfect rhythm; we ran hills as we had during hill training sessions and coached each other during down hills. God’s presence was palpable and my Spirit transcended my physical body allowing me to sustain a pace I had never run before. I felt the energy and cheers from the crowd along with the prayers from friends I knew were praying for me that day.
As my daughter and I crossed the finish line, the clock read: 1:29 – but that was gun time…our actual time was 1:26 – four minutes under what we visualized as our goal for that day and a good one minute less per mile than we were hoping for! The magic and miracle of October 13, 2008 shall forever be an imprint on my Spirit!
We can either allow the beliefs instilled in us by others to rule our lives and pummel us until we lose faith and confidence in ourselves. Or we can take a good, hard look at those beliefs in the light of day and pummel them into extinction.