Never above you. Never below you. Always beside you ~ Walter Winchell
This weekend I attended my first ever Highland Games. I’ve never seen so many bagpipes gathered in one place. Nor have I seen such massive men, and women, throwing giant hammers and tree trunks. It was an experience for all of my senses to take in. This awesome new human in my life is no stranger to these games. As a drummer in, what I call the best Scottish Pipe Band in all the Universe, he’s right at home in this environment and with his band. In fact, I would say he’s more than at home, he’s in his element. On more occasions than I could count this weekend, my heart swelled with pride and amazement at his unending talent and simultaneous ability to ensure I was comfortable. Over two days at the “Games” I made many trips to the beer gardens, spent too many hours in the sun and hooted and hollered every time the band played, they did take first place across the board, I might add.
Being immersed in this foreign world was exciting and I was struck by how much I missed the excitement and competition of my former “Games”, the race. The last 2 years have been hard, especially in terms of my racing. With one injury after the next, culminating in a broken foot and most recently a wicked case of plantar fasciitis, also known as, ‘WTF!?! Who’s inserting a knife into my foot?’ I have been sidelined and questioning my identity, questioning my worth, what it is that I do, and even, who it is that I am? This weekend, I had my temporary answer, I was a supporter. And a damn good one at that!
All my life I have been a competitor, not content to sit on the sidelines. Through forces of nature, likely over training and well, the aging process, I have been thrust, unwillingly, into a supporting role. To my surprise, I was honestly and legitimately excited to be a groupie, and a reluctant roadie. At no time did I experience the envy that I anticipated or the feelings of resentment that I no longer had “my thing”. My competitive nature did not rear its ugly head. Instead, I was inspired and felt unending admiration for this amazing human and his very cool talents. I was excited to be on the sidelines, cheering and supporting his passions.
I can’t say that I’ve ever been interested in the Highland Games prior to this. I’m not much of a Pipes and Drums aficionado. Truth be told, I have always felt that the bagpipes sounded like someone was standing on a goose and all the songs sound the same to me. But I loved being there this weekend. I loved being a small part of something that meant so much to someone who means so much to me. I want to participate, I want to encourage and I want to support him in those pursuits that bring that smile to his face. If that means carrying drums, back and forth and back again, so be it. That I can do.
I don’t believe that two people, in a relationship, have to do everything together. I don’t believe they have to enjoy all the same things. I don’t believe I even have to like the drumming or the Highland Games (although I do), but I do believe that supportive encouragement is a must. Being a cheerleader and truly admiring another person for what they are passionate about is at the core of loving. Not only allowing, but encouraging someone to be themselves and standing beside them while they do it, is love. I strive to be that person, to have that love.
As I grow and morph and change, I continue to learn who I am and what is important to me going or growing forward. As I attempt to discover my new “thing”, the “thing” that brings forth my passions and excitement, I am comforted in knowing one component of who I have become, I am a supporter. Being in that role doesn’t mean that I am less of something, but rather, it means that I am more; more to the person I support, and more to the relationship that it supports.
I’m already looking forward to my next Highland Games and all that it brings. In the meantime, if I could only get the bagpipes out of my head…you know that song…the bagpipe song…