This morning the sky is overcast and it is very windy. A storm is on its way. But I guess our community already feels like it has been through one.
I was one of many people today out on the trail at one of the city parks. I’ve never seen it empty, but today it was very crowded, especially given the appearance of the skies. But I guess it was a good day to burn off steam. Some people were walking their dogs. Some were holding hands with a loved one. Others, like me, were trying to run off some stress. All of us seemed like we were trying to process – to decompress – to move onward.
We all desperately want to move on from the past hurt and history of this post. And yesterday, I know, felt all too familiar for some.
For the wife who within 30 minutes gets two separate texts: “Trying to leave early to make it to the game on time” and “Gonna be late. Active shooter on post.”
For the mom who drops her kids off in hourly care for a quick meeting and can’t get to them for the next six hours while the post is secured on lock down.
For the family members who are stranded in town indefinitely because they can’t get back to their home on post after work or school.
For the soldiers who are trained to respond to attacks such as these overseas, but are forced to hunker down helpless on their home land.
For the families that were not fortunate enough to receive a text, that all was well before the signals got tied up and had to rely on the fluid reports of the Internet for their information, who had to sit silently and worry while they waited.
For the families who feel relief when they realize that their soldier is unharmed, for the friends who feel relief when they know their friends were unaffected, both feeling guilt afterward that not everyone found relief this day.
I circled around and around the track, people watching and silently praying. There was about a quarter-mile portion of the loop where you ran face first into the gusting winds. Moms with strollers slowed to a walk. Men and women with little dogs on a leash moved ahead of the dogs and braced them from the wind so they wouldn’t blow up in the air like a kite on a string. I actually watched some people “about face” and take the track the other direction. I stubbornly pushed onward. (It’s the Texan in me, I guess.) At one point, I wondered if I was even still moving forward or if the wind was pushing me backward. Dust from baseball dirt and mowers spit at my face. I was about halfway done with the windy stretch when I decided that I would finish it out and be done. There’s was just no reason to go running against the wind.
I put my face down to the ground and I unzipped my jacket to help let some of the breeze cool me down. But then, something better happened. A gust of wind caught my open jacket and it blew up behind me like a cape. I know it sounds silly, but I suddenly felt empowered. I lifted up my face and I charged through the wind. I finished up that windy stretch and I took an additional loop around the track, letting my “cape” fly freely behind me.
Sometimes in life we will feel like we are constantly running against the wind. We’ll want to slow down. We’ll want to turn around. We’ll want to stop. Today, I realized that the greatest way to overcome is to simply push onward. That’s the way everyday heroes are born.
I think this message lends itself well to our community and to our fight. We will push onward together. Because if tradition has taught us anything, it’s that the Army goes rolling along.
Here’s hoping that today the wind is at your back – or providing your cape!