“We can guide with our eyes, and stay on the clear and steady path…or we can guide with our hearts, and find our way to the greatest beauty and joy our souls have ever seen – or felt.”
Tonight we honor one of our Originals…Sarah. She celebrated her birthday this past weekend, but more than that, she celebrated a breathtaking and surreal finish line moment with her girls. On Friday, before a local kids’ race, her oldest daughter Nora told her, “Mom, I want to run this race with my sister. Just the two of us.”
The emotional pains of a mother realizing her daughters were fine without her – eager, in fact, to test their independence on the course – is a moment some parents might dread. But not for Sarah. It was pride, thankfulness and awe for what she was about to witness.
Nora, the oldest, would guide her younger sister to the finish line.
Nora would hold Lila’s hand throughout the race, reassuring her.
Nora would bring Lila across the finish line, and they would finish…together.
Nora….would be the fearless guide.
And if you think this is a small insignificant matter in the course of Sarah’s life – or Nora and Lila’s – you would be wrong.
Okay. Sit back and let us explain why Sarah’s love for running is wrapped so tightly around these two precious little girls. The 2011 Cellcom Green Bay Marathon (our ‘original’ race) was Sarah’s first half marathon. She was hesitant and a bit scared because she was – for the first time – giving herself permission to take time away from her most treasured role – being a mother.
You see Nora, our fearless guide, was born with glaucoma, and since she was born, Sarah has been by her daughter’s side, in and out of operating rooms. And at age three, when they learned that Nora was officially blind in one eye, Sarah says it drove her to persevere, and only by the courage and bravery that Nora displayed, was that able to happen. And so, for her first half marathon, Sarah’s relationship to running was about something more. As written in 2011,
“I run for her. For her, because I fear that one day she may go totally blind and won’t be able to “see” me. I run so that she can “see” her mother as a strong and determined woman. I run for our second daughter, Lila, who is thankfully oblivious to the surgical world out there in children’s hospitals. I run for her because I am grateful to my core that she can see and that has given us new life…added hope that Nora won’t be alone in this world when her parents are gone.”
Nora’s steps, albeit more challenging, guided her sister across the finish line this past Friday. Yes, sometimes, “guiding with your heart” is just as important as “seeing with your eyes.”
Fast forward to this fall. Sarah received a very important email from the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. She has been asked to serve as an official guide runner, accompanying an amazing young woman with a visual impairment, for 26.2 miles through the streets of Chicago.
Since the moment she started running…she knew…someday, this would be her greater call and ultimate purpose. She wants to give her vision to someone who embodies her same desire and passion for crossing the finish line of a marathon. She has said,
“They have the will, the heart, the drive, the body that’s capable of training, the feet to guide them along the way, all they need is the vision. I can give that to them.”
And just as Nora guided her sister Lila across the finish line, now it will be Sarah’s turn to guide…with her eyes, yes, but more so with her heart.
Happy Birthday Sarah.
May your story be an inspiration for others…to treasure the gifts we see with our eyes…but to always, let our hearts be our “true” guide.
Mel & Tori