Monday, September 9, 2013

The Broken Stroller

On Saturday, Abe's parents, the kids, and I participated in a 5k walk for the American Heart Association.  This walk was special to me because my oldest child had major open-heart surgery as a baby.  We are so grateful for all research going towards improving the heart.

Abe was out of town, and I arrived with my children in a separate vehicle from his parents.  We were running a little behind because there were thousands of participants, so traffic was horrendous!

We finally arrived and jumped out of the car as quickly as possible.

I instantly realized my double jogger stroller was broken.  The side where Jayden was sitting was collapsing.  Because it was lopsided on one side, I also couldn't push it in a straight line.  It would have been impossible to walk with both children and carry all our waters, diapers, and oranges, so I had to use the stroller.

I asked a stranger passing by to help me.  After several attempts, he wasn't able to fix it, but he jimmy rigged it instead so that at least it wasn't collapsing as far anymore.  I pushed down hard on the handle and bounced it in an upward motion every few steps to force the stroller to go into a straight line.

We walked almost a mile to reach the start line and happened to find Abe's parents moments before the race started.  They gave us our "Mormons on the Move" team shirts, and we were off!

Jackson, Tyson, and Jordan took off in a sprint, Abe's dad did his speed walk, and the rest of us stayed back with the mass of slower walkers.

People crowded in from all sides, and I kept knocking their ankles because of my lack of control with my broken stroller.  My mother-in-law said I looked like I was having convulsions because I was bouncing it so much to keep it straight.

I had woken my 6 children up at 5:30 in the morning to have an energizing, beautiful experience... I struggled focusing on the beauty.  I smiled but inside frustration was building up.  My wrists had semi-permanent creases in them from pushing down so hard on my stroller, and my concentration was focused on protecting people's heals instead of the overall experience.  After walking almost half the race, I said a prayer in my heart pleading for help to fix the stroller.

I pulled over to the side to make one last attempt.  I didn't know how I could possibly fix it since a big, strong man and I had failed in our earlier attempts, but I had to try again.

Right as I was revving up my energy to try to force the piece into place, a stranger wearing one of our "Mormons on the Move" team shirts walked up beside me, pulled out the perfect tool, and slipped my stroller piece into place.

Abe's mom and I were in shock and thanked him profusely.  He smiled big seeing my heart-felt gratitude, and we continued on our walk.  It felt so good to look around at the people's faces instead of their feet!  Mariah and I skipped along shouting our gratitude as we passed several volunteers playing the accordion.  I was so relieved that I literally told Abe's mom every few minutes how much better I felt!

After the race, Tyson was ecstatic because he had beat all the children in the race.  We all wondered around for quite a while to enjoy the atmosphere.

We lingered so long that we were the last participants to leave and helped the American Heart Association with the cleanup.  My four oldest children sprinted through the fields gathering trash.   We returned to our van with giant balloons and plenty of giveaways.

I pondered about this experience...

First of all, I am so very grateful this man stopped to help.  It would have been easy for him to pretend like he didn't see me- a stranger off on the side struggling.  He listened to the prompting to help and acted immediately.

I could have walked the last mile and a half the same way I did the first half, and the experience was still fine with my broken stroller.

However, what a difference when that burden was lifted!

Because this man listened to the prompting to help and acted on that prompting, I was able to skip with my daughter shouting more gratitude to the volunteers, and we more energized to volunteer our own time to help in the clean-up.  This one man's act of service affected more people than he realizes, and I'm grateful God found a willing servant to answer my prayerful plea for help.