A Pacer’s Heart

– Bikim Brown

It’s only appropriate that I draw parallels between my term of service thus far and the events that transpired today across the city on this sweltering spring day in the city. In a movie called Run Fatboy Run starring Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, and the Simpson’s Hank Azaria. It’s basically an underdog story set in London.  Peg’s character has challenged a playboy magnate in Azaria’s character. While watching this movie I was introduced to a phenomena called runner’s wall. I guess it’s like writer’s block but worse, cause its physical I guess.  During my term of service I ran into my fair share of obstacles, with the staff, and the youth alike. I have seen and experienced things in young people I have never seen even in a 8 summer tenure on staff at summer camp. The amount of empathy I feel for these young people; and their ability to cope with the things they have been forced to cope with at a very young age transcends verbal expression. There are many instances where life is referred to as a race or a journey; and as I saw all of those people cheering on their runners in the marathon I couldn’t help but think of  the role some of the folks over at my host site, myself and my fellow KEYS members play.

As I saw those tired people lurching past their supporters, in what I can only assume was the home stretch of the marathon, I couldn’t help but recall the days when I was summoned from bed in US Army basic training in the wee hours of the morning to run around the base. To be completely honest I hated it, and I still kind of hate it to this day. I have vowed to never run unless I am being chased. But I admire the strength of those who run for inner causes like the passing of a loved one who has perished of cancer or some other horrible disease. I guess running can serve as therapeutic means to work out grief and such. Giving the mind something to do besides wallowing in mourning. I suppose it’s one way to do it.

After serving eight months in the cottages at my host site, I have had the opportunity to observe some of these young people at really low points in their life, where not only do the need allies; but they need pacers to show them that they don’t have to do it all alone. But much to my dismay a lot of them either totally shun help or crave to be the center of attention, which can work against them socially. I always keep it in my head no matter what they do they are still young; and that they have plenty of time. Some of my youth can’t see the forest for the trees, and want nothing to do with trying to stay motivated, or being encouraged. I can’t for the life of me imagine the hurt some of these kids have seen, or felt that it could make them so cold to the human experience. Try as I may to emulate making the world a better place by serving others; hoping that even one will pick up on the social cues. Even though I don’t like to run, I have a special knack for pacing young people in pain.


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