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What we don’t see

Today I feel compelled to share a very personal, but powerful experience. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it and feel it could probably impact others as it did me. So please bear with me and enjoy some personal pictures along the way. My oldest son has been on the school mountain bike team for 4 years. This sport has been his life and has subsequently become a family affair. My husband is a coach on the team and my 13-year-old also started on the team this year. It is a pretty big commitment with the racing season running August-October all over our state. But races are such a great event to attend - full of so much enthusiasm and team support. Two weeks ago my 17-year-old had his last ever high school race and it was full of unexpected emotion. His race included three and a half 7.5-mile laps (don’t ask about the half of a lap). Unfortunately, due to a mechanical issue, he was unable to complete the final half a lap, and therefore he did not complete the race. You can imagine my alarm when I received a phone call from him as I was standing on the sidelines waiting for him to pass.

My husband and I hurried to the finish and found him standing there sobbing - he was SO disappointed. But you know who else was standing there with him? His coach. His coach was holding cold Gatorades to his neck. He wasn’t saying anything, he was just there in full support of my son. At this point, my husband and I were also crying - who knew mountain biking could be so emotional ;)? We got a few details from him, but mostly we were just with him letting him know of our love for him.

We took him from the finish line to his large fan club (AKA the family who had traveled far and wide to watch this final race) where many of them also greeted him in tears. Not tears of sadness, but tears of pure joy and pride at this kid’s accomplishment! They hugged him (even the Rona can’t stop people from being people) and told him how impressed they were with him and how much they loved him.

But it doesn’t end there. . . . his fan club left and my husband and I met him at the team tent so he could sit down and get something to eat. You know what we found? One of his very good friends who normally races, but didn’t this year, sitting there right next to him. They weren’t talking, my son was in and out of crying, and they were just together eating their snacks. This friend chose to be there for my son over being at the finish line watching other friends finish. My mama heart could hardly stand it. This kid is so loved, so supported, and so impressive!

Why do I tell you this {way too long} story? Because sometimes we just need those people in our life - the ones who are just there. The ones who don’t say anything, but we know they are there. And just their presence is what we need! We can all be that person. I tend to think that I need to be doing or saying something to help someone ‘feel better.’ But sometimes I think our words just get in the way. What happens in the white space, [in the quiet space]? There is a lot of power, love, and strength there. In the design world, white space is very important. It is a creative and powerful way of drawing the reader or viewer to a particular element of the design. It is also a powerful way to create a certain mood or look in a design piece. This blank space is just as important as the design itself. I have now been a witness to its power and committed to being that person more in my life. To just being there for someone and allowing the white space to do its job.

Just like Allison Krauss says: “You say it best when you say nothing at all.”

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