Seeing Differently

14859888_10154546585997976_7941687877303330517_oRecently, I’ve started running 5Ks. It is still so odd to me that I’m participating in these events – I’ve never seen myself as a runner, but it’s been really fun!

Last weekend, I ran a 5K that benefited an organization that helps victims of domestic violence. I was thrilled to support that cause.

When I showed up, I saw the usual crowd: super athletes who would finish the 5K before I even rounded the first corner, mom-runners who pushed strollers with one or two small kids, 8-year olds with tons of energy, and average non-athletes like me. At this event, though, I saw a group of about 15 young adults dressed in outrageous and rather shocking outfits. They were boisterous and (I thought) obnoxious. I gave them a wide berth and eyed them with some judgement and annoyance. They just want attention, so I won’t pay attention to them. Why were they here disrupting everything?

After the 5K, there was a small awards ceremony where the top fundraisers and fastest runners were recognized. To my surprise, the group of rowdy young adults (it turns out, they were from a local Rocky Horror Picture Show group) were recognized as the top fundraiser – and they have supported this event for years! Of all the things that these kids could be doing, they chose to run and raise money to help victims of domestic violence. That was really moving to me. The director of the event warmly hugged the young adults and expressed sincere thanks. You know how much fundraising I did? None. I paid my $30 entrance fee and felt satisfied about my “contribution”. The beauty of those kids’ hearts was exposed and I was humbled.

I saw those kids in a new way. They treated each other like family. Was domestic violence a part of one of their lives? Maybe. Maybe not. What has motivated them to participate in this event? Why am I so quick to judge instead of talking with one of the kids and being present with them, listening?  I wish I had. Maybe there will be a next time. I hope so.