I’ve been accused of being a natural ‘teacher.’

Even my brother, a hugely successful college professor, said to me the other day, “Sis, I’m sorry. I think you have the teaching gift.”

All I know is I get more passionate about my peeps’ accomplishments than I do my own anymore.

And maybe that’s also, then, being passionate about what I do. (I see your point.)

But, this one—this one brought me to proud tears.

I taught lyric writing at the TN Young Writers Workshop for a decade. Every summer I’d move into an empty, prison-esque dorm room for a week and sleep on a plastic mattress. I’d stay for the week (which always felt like a month by Wednesday), and I’d invest in those young lives.

It didn’t ultimately matter to me what they wrote.

What mattered was THAT they wrote.

And I was there to let them explore and to watch them grow as people.

Bekah Rhea was one of those young writers.

I remember the first year Bekah showed up at camp in her wheelchair. The disabled grown-up in me was acutely aware that her week was going to be shaped by how the other writers responded to her.

Shame on me for underestimating, even for a second, Bekah or the other young writers.

It was a terrific week. I watched lifelong friendships form, and I was proud to see a young disabled woman step into her role as a ROCK STAR!!!!

Today, I want to share Bekah’s latest triumph with you. I’m just going to quote her post from Facebook and show you the picture.

I told her when she graduated to spend her life being extraordinary. “Make the extraordinary decision every time.”

I thinks she’s way ahead of me. 😉

As someone who once hated their body, I am happy to share my victories. Recovery is possible. –Bekah Rhea

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Today’s the day! This morning, hundreds of people walked, jogged, and ran to support the rescue of two children from forced labor in Ghana. I’m overwhelmed by the encouragement I received today, but here is what I want you to know:

I have been training for this since June, knowing full well that my body was completely insufficient for this task. Somewhere along the line, I convinced myself that my work was what would determine my success. I trained, (not well enough, I might add) but forgot something very important. Something that this race, this rescue, is all about. And that is the power of other people, the power of a compassionate community. This week, I prayed hard for the endurance to follow through. I also prayed specifically that though finishing last, away from the crowd, I wouldn’t end up walking by myself.

I started the race with 2 walking buddies. By the end of the race, I practically had my own entourage. Whether it was from the beginning or just for a distance, sweet friends stuck with me all the while. They encouraged me, stopped traffic, patrolled for dog poop, kept me smiling, made me laugh, kept me hydrated, bandaged my blisters, and even carried me–just for a few minutes. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the people in this place, people who share hearts for justice and compassion to prevail in the world. I’m glad we could fight for freedom together today. I’m glad my first 5k was this one.”

(P.S. If you liked this post, will you help me get the word out by sharing it?)