Saturday, June 13, 2009

Relay for Life

Hope is alive and well and faith restored. And no, I am not talking about Obama. Last night I grabbed Fritz and wandered up to the high school for the Relay for Life opening ceremonies. Kidlet and her pals had a team of superheroes (their costumes) and were participating with more than 600 other students, to help raise awareness of, and money for cancer. The inner field of the running track was converted to a tent city, local bands entertained the crowd with their mostly own material, the air was electric and the excitement was palpable.

I sent Kidlet back to her friends as the ceremonies began and I tried to get Fritz to walk off some of his hyper-ness. As we wandered up and down the makeshift "streets", I couldn't help but smile at the personalities of the individual "camps" ... a Harry Potter pillow, a Sailor Moon pillowcase, someone's special blanket, various beloved stuffed animals, posters of loved ones lost to cancer ...

I could hear the speeches of the four students who told their stories -- of loss and of survival. As each student took the stage, the crowd was hushed, many faces contorted in sadness and tears and some had expressionless, faces frozen in stunned shock. There was a moment when one of the girls speaking stopped mid sentence, voice clenched with grief .... dead silence. The crowd waited just a moment before slowly breaking out into supportive applause.

It moved me beyond words. The sight of the future custodians of our world, experiencing - demonstrating - the goodness that can be achieved in solidarity, in the joining of hearts and minds.

Fritz and I bid Kidlet a fond goodnight - she even kissed me in front of her friends without apparent embarrassment. As we made our way home Fritz and I agreed that nothing makes us more hopeful than the beauty of youthful action ... Relay for Life is really a Display of Life.


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