• Ashley Thomas

Can't Stop Won't Stop

Seniors 2012

“And oh, as you run What hindered love Will only become Part of the story”

Steffany Gretziner: Out of Hiding

I used to love running. It was when dreams became most vivid in my head. I imagined game winning shots, traveling around the world and what my children would look like. I became lost in this mystical world and dared to lay out how the future would unfold. I didn’t want to stop running because I knew the images would fade away. I would slowly land back in reality and reality was I didn’t know what the future held. Before every game in college I would sit in front of my locker and stare down at my shoes. I would soak in the moment and think to myself - imprint this moment in your brain, someday you won’t be here. It was as if “here” was where I found life. Laughing teammates, background music, play-books and one pair of basketball shoes with verses written on them and the simple phrase: AO1 - audience of one. While at the time I was so fearful of losing “here” because it came with status, security and community - those weren’t all worth hanging onto. But I do think I got part of it right.

If you look down right now and soak in where your two feet are planted - who are you today, who matters in your life, what are you doing - who are you becoming? Right here, right now is the gift we have been given. My shoes look different, they are in a new venue, and help me make it through a day with a different mission... but they are here in the present. Eventually the pounding on my once super agile body was too much. Running was no longer fun, it was more like a chore. Something I only did when I was given a schedule and an ultimatum. With it some dreams died too. Most evident was my appearance: my once athletic build was more round, things I could easily lift before became a burden and I looked in the mirror at someone I didn’t completely recognize. When I moved to Milwaukee I never thought I would stay. Milwaukee felt like the death of a dream. It wasn’t part of the plan. I don’t know what the future holds. I do know today marks 5 years that my feet have been planted at a special place on 26th and Capitol. It’s a place that has shaped me, challenged me and allowed me to transform, moving from dreams being in my mind to coming to fruition before my eyes. The difference? I know I won’t die if they don’t come true. My role is to soak in the moment and accept it as a gift. Here’s to a journey that has been written and to the beautiful revealing of the purpose along the way. Be bold. Be you. BE.


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