"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12
"Gip," I groaned, "I just c-a-n-'t touch," I spluttered. I huffed in disgust. I was centimeters away from this beauty.
"Gip" as we affectionately called our P.E. teacher who also coached us in various sports and through life, shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know Teres, you slam dunked every other event. You must meet all the requirements. The red patch isn't so bad."
"Unacceptable Gip!" I countered.
My friend Robin chimed in, "What if I push on her back?"
"NO WAY!" I had bumped hips on the blocks beneath the basketball hoop enough with this girl to know her pushing on my back may very well result in the sproing of not one, but BOTH of my hamstrings. Then came the voice of my gentle angel of physical redemption.
"I will do it Teres."
Yes! Nechia would be the ideal candidate to provide just enough of a nudge to stretch me to my toes, victory, and the BLUE first presidential fitness award. She delicately placed both hands on my shoulder blades. I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled as I strained towards my toes. By Gip, we had CONTACT! Nechia released her hands, I gritted my teeth and HELD IT until Gip barked out, "Okay, GOOD!"
As I released the stretch, admittedly it sent me to the John Cougar Mellencamp realm as it "hurt so good." However my tensile task was complete. The award, certificate and accomplishment were all mine. Well sort of all mine. When I couldn't do it on my own a "second strand" of a comrade came along side of me (or in this case behind me). This wasn't the first or last time Nechia came through for me either. I thank our "Third Strand" Father for her friendship and placing her on my life's path. Good friends to share the journey are one of God's greatest gifts. These people push us to stretch to the greatest length and end our bodies, minds and souls can reach. When first moving to Hanoi I had a great group to expand and stretch my physical strength in Amy, Rahan, Francisca and Kiley. Mentally and soulfully I have been stretched by Pete, Nechia, David, Mary Jane, as well as my students past and present. And sometimes we are fortunate enough to share a bond with beautifully rare people who stretch us in all three realms like my running partner Jill and some particular PLN friends who know just when to nudge me.
Here is to breathing the Spirit through the push to take us to ends we could not imagine or stretch on our own!