There were a few touching moments from my trip to Utah that I have to write about.
Touching moment #1:
After I crossed the finish line at the race, I did something that I haven't done before and want to continue doing. I watched as the racers after me crossed. I was surprised at how much it moved me. I watched as couples in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and some 70s crossed hand in hand. I watched as fathers and daughters, and mothers and sons crossed hand in hand. I watched as sisters, friends and complete strangers crossed hand in hand.
I saw racers limping, bleeding from their chafed nipples, a runner with a bloody nose, and racers that were sopping wet with sweat. I watched as racers, who pushed so hard, passed out after they crossed the finish line, threw-up as their bodies came to a stop, went into shock and had to be taken to first aid and carried away in an ambulance. I saw it all.
It was not just what I saw, but how I felt that moved me. I felt so proud of each racer that accomplished the great goal that they set. I felt so proud of each racer that beat their last race time. I felt so proud of the ones that looked so much in pain, but just kept going. I felt it all.
After seeing and feeling what I did, I had damp cheeks.
Touching moment #2
This morning, as I was dropped off at the Salt Lake airport I saw several young men and women in missionary attire. I watched as they documented each moment in the airport by camera. I watched the excitement on their faces as they were getting ready to embark on this wonderful and very trying time in each of their lives. I watched emotions go through cycles as they called home to say good-bye- smiles, then tears, then smiles again. I watched and realized that even though I am not going on a mission and haven't been on a mission, I still am a missionary and need to do my part to share what I love so much and live for.
My cheeks didn't get damp, but I had a difficult time swallowing with such a lump in my throat.
Touching moment #3
This moment made my cheeks the most damp. I watched this morning as men dressed in their army greens said good-bye to their families and friends. I watched as they were strong, but then had moments of emotion flood through them. I watched their loved ones wipe their damp cheeks. I had to look away when I saw a young wife say good-bye to her husband. I watched as her tears shook her body and breathing became hard. People probably watched me as I wiped my face.
I have been grateful for the men and women that serve and have served our country. I am selfish at times and was truly humbled by what each of these citizens are doing for me personally. They are sacrificing their time with families, friends, education, and any other joys that they experience in their daily lives. For that, I am grateful. I am grateful for their bravery. I am grateful for their pride. I am grateful for their strength. I am the most grateful for what they represent.
To the man that hugged his sobbing wife, I say thank you. To the man that hugged his three kids and strong wife, I say thank you. To the woman who hugged each of her siblings and parents, I say thank you.
Thank you for my damp cheeks and new-found appreciation for my body, religion and freedom.