So the summer after my sophomore year of college, my boyfriend (now husband) and I decided to work at Timber Pointe Outdoor Center. This 170-acre Easter Seals Camp “offers weeklong camping opportunities for children and adults with disabilities and chronic illnesses.” Talk about an eye-opening experience! We sang and danced and fished and rode horses and shot bows and arrows and painted and on and on, with kids and adults who had cerebral palsy, spina bifida, traumatic brain injuries, cancer, sickle cell, etc. etc.
It was unbelievable the ways in which common camping activities can be adapted (and even just day-to-day life skills needed to be adapted) for various special needs. And it is just plain awesome how for one week everyone is pretty much “the same.” No longer is that one child with special needs feeling left out because EVERYONE else there is figuratively in the same boat. It’s amazing! — — —
And challenging! To contemplate your own lot in life and know that some of your minor, temporary worries are NOTHING in comparison…
And to physically do some of the necessary tasks involved with caretaking – truly a humbling example of serving others with God’s love.
Well, surrounded by miles of wooded trails, the camp was a perfect place for a run. Truly, there is nothing better than a long run involving sunrises over a lake, glistening spider webs from the morning dew, and deer bounding across your path as you interrupt their breakfast. The setting itself could have made me a runner.
But there was still more – The realization that I COULD run. I had two legs and a body full of muscles that were ABLE to move. I had the mental acuity to plan out a running route and return safely. I was not confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
One of my little campers, an 8 year old with blond curls and the sweetest personality would give me a hug and the BIGGEST SMILE as soon as I woke her up every morning. (It’s not like she was waking up on her own either. I was physically rousing her from sleep but she smiled immediately!) I would get her dressed, brush those beautiful curls, and then carry her to her wheelchair.
She would likely never be able to run. But there was something about her being so happy from the very beginning of the day that made me want the same.
So many days (even now) when I’m questioning why I should run or exercise, I can see that sweet, sweet smile, and it’s so much easier to lace up the shoes and head out the door.
Do you ever find it hard to find the motivation to run (or exercise)? What helps you get started?