It was a smile from a stranger that got me to mile 5.
I’m sure, absolutely certain, really, of what my face looked like just seconds before she smiled at me. Utter exhaustion.
Rounding the corner and my run tracker tells me I’ve hit mile 3.99. With 5 miles as my goal, this was good and bad news–at this particular intersection, it felt more bad than good. Still another mile to go.
God, let me finish.
It was both a prayer and plea–the exhausted sighs of a total non-runner gasping for the faux finish line of my front door.
That very moment, right as I tipped my head to heaven and huffed hard to the corner sign, that’s when her white car slowed for the turn. I bounced on the balls of my feet waiting to cross and if I’d blinked I’d have missed it.
But I didn’t blink.
I didn’t turn my head to look for potential traffic coming from the left. I stared right through her drivers side window as she rounded the corner. Time slowed and the neighborhood noise fell away for a split second. I caught sight of her eyes, her obviously sympathetic and encouraging eyes, and then, her smile.
In case you think she was probably already smiling and this is all a delirium inspired by the strange somewhat euphoric mental space that one can enter when running, I want to be clear that I saw the birth of the smile. It was most definitely intended for me. it wasn’t just her mouth–in her eyes too, I saw the sympathetic look, a look that said “hang in there, honey, you got this, you’re almost home“.
Of course she was a stranger and had no way of knowing if I was in fact almost home, but I’m a woman of faith and when I sigh prayers heavenward I believe God answers. This seemingly random smile from a stranger was my answer.
This tiny, practically insignificant exchange was the thing that got me through that last mile.
I hit my goal.
Pushing onward home I thought about that moment at the corner, the power of a simple act that costs the doer virtually nothing, but offers the receiver a gift immeasurable.
How many opportunities in a day are there for these tiny acts of kindness? I wonder–and what keeps us from doing them?
A smile is in fact, an act of kindness.
A smile can be an answered prayer.
Thanks, smiling stranger in the white car. Your generosity got me through that last mile. For this reluctant runner, that’s huge.
Want to do something awesome?
I’m training for a quarter-marathon–that’s 6 miles for you non-runner people. But I am not running this for my own personal achievement. (I dont like running enough to do that)
I’m racing for Compassion International–a ministry for which I am an advocate.
My fundraising goal is $500. (So far, I’ve raised $200 of that.) The money raised by this run will go to Compassion’s emergency medical fund, which provides various life-saving medical treatment to those who otherwise could not afford proper care. This money? It’s life-saving.
Let this be your small act of kindness. It’s bigger than you know. (click this link to give)
The deadline is fast approaching. My race is August 25th.
Friends, I don’t often ask this, but would you kindly share this post in your various social media circles? Perhaps someone you know can help me reach my goal (smiling, gratefully).
Counting on, beyond my 1000 Gifts
- Sunday afternoon games
- reading to my littlest
- family dinner
- alone time
- the joy of friends
- dwindling days of summer
- hot coffee
- learning to eat healthier (this is the hard eucharisteo)
- running 5 miles
- smiles from strangers
- new mercies
- old hymns
- a mentor (a prayer prayed for over 2 years)