My son and I are currently hanging out in our RV at a naval base in California. This morning I heard chanting on the path behind our camper and looked outside to see a squad of naval cadets jogging. They were doing what the military likes to call a “fun run.” Or the less fun term, squadron PT. In the front was the leader, carrying the squadron flag and leading the group chant. Directly behind him keeping in perfect formation were the other cadets. They were keeping in pace with the leader, repeating the chant as they jogged closely behind him. Then quite a distant behind the group were two stragglers. A female cadet obviously struggling to keep moving. The other cadet was stronger, and seemed to slow his pace to stay beside her. I watched them for a while. Every few minutes he said something to her. While I could not hear what he was saying, I imagined it to be words of encouragement. Maybe telling her how much farther she had to go, reassuring her he was going to stay right beside her. Or maybe he was simply reminding her to breathe.

I used to be the strong one, or at least I could keep up with the group. But these days I am struggling, tired, emotionally depleted.

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