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  • Writer's pictureCalli Townsend

A lesson from my dad

I thought I’d be writing about how I ran a 2:13.9 in the 800 today. I’m serious. On the bus this morning I literally thought about the words I would say and how excited I would be to tell you all that hard work pays off. I even had the picture picked out that I would use. I’d already been planning the lesson I would learn and share.

Instead, I get to tell you that I ran a 2:19.21 and I cried and puked and felt so hopeless. I crossed the finish line, saw the clock, got super upset, and walked off the track. I saw my dad standing in the bleachers and I stared at him so hard as if to say “Please come down here and hug me right now and tell me that everything will be okay.”

He got the message. He scurried down the bleachers and came over and gave me a hug. He asked if I was okay and he just listened as I walked him through my race and the things I messed up on.

And that’s what I get to share with you instead, and honestly, as great as running well is, experiencing God’s love is better. My whole life I’ve been so incredibly blessed to have a dad who shows me what God’s love is like and today he reminded me of that again.

As I laid down my dad stayed with me until I calmed down, then he got me some water. I drank that and then had to get up and sprint to the trash can to throw up. My coach was more impressed with the amount of fluid I left in the trash can than my race today, if that tells you anything.

After that, Dad walked with me to the bathroom and after when I asked if he’d want to walk a lap with me, he said, “I’d love to.” So we worked our way in and out of the crowds in the cramped indoor track to get to the other end. Once we got there, we sat down on the pole vault runway and chatted. We talked about sports, business, family, and the shot putter who “didn’t look like the rest” as my dad put it. He was massive and threw super far.

My dad drove four and a half hours by himself to watch me run a few laps around a track. He doesn’t even really understand track all that well (although he is learning) but I know he loves me so he’ll come anyway. He never complained and even when I didn’t perform as well as both of us were hoping, he just cheered me on, helped me get back up, and encouraged me to keep going. I never got the sense that he was disappointed in me or that he thought his trip was a waste.

That’s just like our heavenly father. No time with us is wasted in His eyes. No accomplishment is too small. He’s willing to do anything for us, just to be with us, simply because He loves us. Even when we’re weak and sad and puking in a trash can. He’s still there. And He’ll come back and help all over again.

This could've been a frustrated post about how I’m disappointed with God for not giving me the race I wanted to run. I could complain that despite staying so disciplined and working so hard, I still can’t hit my goals. But that’s not what this is about, thanks to my dad for reminding me that everything is okay. He didn't even really say much, it’s just his presence and the example that he sets, and because of that, I can tell you that while I’m still striving for big goals, I’m still proud. I’m content and still grateful for all God does. And I really love my dad and am so grateful for him too.


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