Friday, August 10, 2012

Waiting on a Victory Dance

I wrote this post a few days ago and never posted it.... been a rough week for me.  I'll post the results from our 2nd Annual Baby Rachel's Legacy 5K soon.  It's good news :o) 

On Saturday, my friend Lisa posted on my facebook wall that the USA was at 43 medals as of August 4th.  "Go Team Rachel!" she wrote.   I don't have cable and don't watch TV really, so I was completely unaware of how the Olympics were going and thought it was cool, but didn't think much of it.

Well, this morning I was at the gym listening to my MP3 like usual.  I have only ever watched what was on TV twice since I've been going.... I looked up and was drawn to the facial expressions of this athlete on TV.  I realized it was the Olympics.  I watched as they gave playbacks of his other wins and interviewed him.  I couldn't hear the words, but I could see the satisfaction on his face.  Then all of a sudden, it showed him kicking a wall.  I'm blind, so I squinted to try to read what was scrolling across the bottom of the screen.  I could see a few words... 'horrible end to a great day' stood out and I figured out that he had injured himself.

So here he was at the Olympics, he had won the world championship before and was going to attempt to run and jump hurdles despite his injury.  I took the plug out of my MP3 and hooked it into the speaker for the TV so I could hear.

The determination on his face was obvious and as the race began, he looked like he was going to make it.  He leaped the first hurdle and caught his foot, falling and rolling on the ground.  His hand immediately grasped his injured tendon. 

He got up and hopped on one foot out behind the stands.  He stopped, the disappointment more painful than his foot.  He turned around, hopped back out to the track and hopped down the side of the track until he got to the last hurdle, hopped across to his lane, leaned down and kissed his hurdle and hopped back to the sidelines where his opponents greeted him to help carry him along.

I am not even one single bit invested emotionally in track or the Olympics - and I was full blown crying on the elliptical machine.  As they did replay after replay talking about how his injury had ruined his ability to finish the race, they said something along the lines of  "he cleared the 42 inch hurdle and just couldn't quite make it over" 

Kinda like my girl.  Another inch.  Another minute.  Another race....

I couldn't help but see the symbolism for me in what the news is calling a 'tragedy' for the 'greatest hurdler of all time'....  It was as if I watched him fall, I felt the pain of Rachel's diagnosis.... 

I watched him get up and run off to the side, I felt the desire for it to all be a bad dream like it was yesterday....

I watched him come back out and hop on one foot - no way to hide that he was way to deny he couldn't succeed in the way he wanted.... no way to change what his destiny for the race was....No way to change the fact that he had been left in the dust to lose alone and to have to watch everyone else keep going.  I remembered the very moment I made the decision to get through my challenge - my pregnancy with a terminally ill baby, even if I had to hop on one foot, and I felt the determination to not waste Rachel's 'race' well up in my heart and soul.... 

I watched him go back to his lane to kiss his hurdle... the one he had hoped to finish strong at, but could not get to - or over - and I felt the pain of having to walk away from my girl at her open grave.

I watched him hop back to the side where people met him to encourage him - the very people he was competing against held his arm up as if he was the champion and the crowd cheered as if to say "it's okay" - people literally crying for him, knowing how disappointed he would be and how little control he had over his injury... knowing that he did the best he had with what he had been given....
And I was reminded of how many people have helped carry me along this path, some holding me up when I didn't see the point and reminding me of my strength - God's strength - when I feel weak. 

He still lost.  He still will always hate that competition.  It will likely change the entire course of his career - his life.  His injury is real and no matter how much he wants it to go away, it's just not. 

But I have to say, it was a beautiful thing watching him lose the way he did - He was all heart, nobody could deny that.

I don't usually say I'm proud of myself cause it just sounds lame....  but I'm gonna say it.  If I can be proud of the athlete from China for putting his whole heart into a race, I can be proud of myself for putting my whole heart into my baby girl.  I did everything I could and more and will for the rest of my life for a little girl that the doctors said - and even some of our very own friends and relatives said - was not worth the effort.  People would ask "They are MAKING her carry that baby to term?!" as if I was being forced or else why would I bother?  Someone in my family actually said "Can it even be considered a baby if it doesn't have a brain?"  Well, he is any less an athlete because he can't use his foot? 

My 'race' was more like a long distance race with a 42 inch hurdle at the end.  It was a long, hard run towards a hurdle I so hoped she would make it over.  She couldn't clear that 43rd minute, but I don't regret trying.  I had to get her to the place where she had a shot at it.  And I sat as her proud Mama in the sidelines in that operating room, tears streaming down my face as I silently cheered "you can do it Rachel, you can do it...."  And when I realized she couldn't I just whispered through my disappointment, "It's okay girl... we tried."

The words of Garth Brooks Song, The Dance, come to mind....

"I'm glad I didn't know, how it all would end, how it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss
the dance......"

So, maybe if I knew she couldn't make it as long as I had hoped.  Or that she wouldn't be miraculously healed.  Or how hard it would be after the race was over when it was time to watch the rest of the world, still invested in the Olympics, while I had to sit it out and care for my injury....

Maybe I wouldn't have shown up for the race.  Maybe I would have played it 'safe' and listened to the doctors.  God put on my heart at the very beginning of this road that Hope (Capital H) does not disappoint us.  I have clung to the truth for 2 years now and will for the rest of my life. 

What's my other choice?  To sit it out?  I don't sit dances out. Never have. Never will.

And I have taken to a new love of running too - even if there are a few hurdles I can't make it over along the way.  This race has forever changed my life.  This loss has reshaped who I am from the inside out.  And maybe I didn't finish strong or win a medal - maybe I don't have the bouncing baby girl I wanted so much in my kitchen this morning, but I know I have lost with heart.  I know that no matter how I have to hobble to the finish line, I will make it.  And when I do, Rachel and I.... we're going to do a victory dance together for Jesus. 

I will always dance for you pretty girl ♥ I will always hope in You Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post if I may say that! I'm often so impressed about your talent to write your feelings down and to find such apposite analogies! (I hope this is comprehensible...)
    And Stacy, yes you can be proud! You are a great mamma and Rachel knows that too!
    Hugs and love, God bless you, anja


We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
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