Circle of Care

Posted on April 26, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

My friend Erica is a grief counselor for children.  A heart-wrenching job, for sure.  You enclose these kids in a circle of care, she says, to help them understand what’s happening to them and their world.

When she says circle of care, Erica holds up her arms in front of her for emphasis like she’s holding a laundry basket.  Their lives are like a basket filled with things that have become soiled but can be made clean again. Erica’s job is to hold the kids loosely, but firmly, until they’re ready to unload their own basket.

I see this image of Erica with arched arms often when I think of Girls on the Run. Most recently at last weekend’s race.

On the way to the race, the SUV I was driving, loaded with nearly everything we needed for race day, was forced off the highway and into a cement wall, totaling the car.  It was my mom’s SUV. She was my passenger.  Miraculously, we are both fine.

Everything that was loaded into the SUV in an orderly, organized fashion suddenly looked like tornado debris.  Somehow, with the help of my great friend Chris who showed up within minutes of being called, we were able to transport the race gear to the park in time for the run.

Each girl who participates in Girls on the Run receives a medal when she finishes the race.  It’s a mark of accomplishment not only for achieving her race goal but for completing the entire season.  medals

I love to see the hanger full of medals strung from our tent, each one waiting to be hung around girls’ necks.  This season, we arranged the hanger weeks before the event, just so we could look at it.

The medals swayed in the back of the car, streams of blue and pink, and jangled as we drove.  When we hit the cement wall, the medals flew off the hanger in every direction and crumpled on the floor.

I picked up all I could find and held them in a ragged mound on my lap as Chris drove us to the park. There was no more order, only wrinkled or dirty ribbons speckled with broken glass.  I carried them in my arms, a mangled heap, to our set-up site, still a bit dazed, wondering how to recreate order out of what had become chaos.

It was then I was reminded of Erica.  I put the medals down and stepped away.  Dozens of others stepped in and did what they were there to do.  The tent and tables went up, gear was organized and distributed, girls and buddies signed in, medals re-hung.  There was smiling, laughter, nervous anticipation.  Clouds of pink hairspray.

And then, girls running.   Not alone, but with their buddies.

At the finish line, I watched coaches drape a medal around each girl’s neck, followed quickly by a hug big enough to enclose us all.

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2 Responses to “Circle of Care”

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Minka, I love your posts, and I’m not even a runner. So poignant and inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

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Once again, beautiful.
Thank God you are okay. [hug]

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