(see part 1 here)
Brad was starting a new journey. His life was forever rocked one evening. From that moment on, he was starting a new path. He was looking for support. For knowledge, wisdom and more time. Just a little more time.
October 10th I felt so strongly that I needed to run my first half marathon on behalf of Brad, Stephanie and their 2 beautiful children, Brady and Halle. I put their names on my body as a physical representation of us running the race together. If there’s one thing I learned through my training this summer, it’s that I NEEDED support. There is no way I would’ve continued on through the discipline without the support of Leslie, my husband and my running group.
In the same way, Brad needed support. Through his blog, hundreds came around him with a spiritual hug at all hours and days of the week. My race was dedicated to their race. I wanted him to know that he wasn’t alone and that WE were running the race together. Every time I hit a rough patch during the race (and believe me, there were plenty!) I tapped both arms and said a prayer of strength for us.
I remember a moment during the race when I was weary. The race (while very flat) was set on a towpath. The pure logistics of the race made it so that there wasn’t a lot of crowd support through the race. I remember feeling so strong at miles 7, 8 and 9. Then around mile 10 I remember thinking to myself, “I could R-E-A-L-L-Y use some support right now!” I was just looking for a “Go Clare!” or a “Get your rear end moving Clare!” to spur me towards the finish line. But all I got was silence. I had my ipod of course, but I had no one else to send me along. I remember praying a lot and thinking, “Just one foot, then the other. Keep moving. Trust in your training.” I remember counting down those signs…literally. Mile 11,12, 13.
Finally, at mile 13, there they were. My support. I broke free from the desolate towpath and saw my husband and some very good friends. They were whistling and screaming my name. They had their hands out giving me fives and telling me to “Go, go, go!” It was sweet relief. (of course the fact that I only had .1 mile to go helped too!)
I got to the end of the race and ran it better than I expected. My husband found me at the end of the race, gave me a hug and I let loose. I cried. I can’t explain the emotions that overtook me at that moment. They were all over the place.
I felt like I had just experienced a physical manifestation of what Brad was going through spiritually, except I crossed the line. Brad was still back on mile 10 praying to get to the end.
After the race, my husband and I went to the hospital to visit Brad, Stephanie and the kids. We had the honor to pray over Stephanie and with Brad.
3 days later, Stephanie passed into the arms of her Savior.
Philippians 3 says this:
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Everything came full circle for me. I don’t know that their situation would’ve hit me EXACTLY as it did if it weren’t for the fact that I were in a little race of my own. I knew that while I was able to arrive at my goal and cross the finish line, that Brad had a long way to go until he crossed his. It reminded me that there was something to be said for running a race and pushing through even when you are alone and have nothing or no one “patting your back”.
It reminded me that my support system in life is so extremely important to push me to the finish.
And it reminded me that sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other and to trust that you will be taken where you need to go.
Aren’t we all in a race? Are you starting off fresh with a lot of energy? Maybe you are in the middle of it getting a bit weary. Perhaps you are nearing the end and just need some support. Remember that you are on a journey. Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. Trust in your training.
And be mindful that YOU are also a part of SOMEONE else’s journey. Think of how you can be a blessing to others!! Be the cheerleader to spur them on to the finish!
I had the HONOR of running my first full marathon on November 6th in support of a dear friend and her 3 year old daughter who is fighting A.L.L. Leukemia. My pastor and I ran- and raised almost $14,000 for the L&L Society to donate in her honor. I was met at the finish line by my friend and her precious bald little 3 year old… and we wept… I understand so much of what you experienced… beautiful, humbling, powerful, emotional. My little Vera is going to win her race and return to health God willing… and I know that Stephanie already won her race in a different way! Praying for Brad and their family still…
Clare, what an inspiring story…when I ran my only pitiful race (the 5k, lol) I kept thinking of the many people I know who have MS (the YMCA that I go to is connected to the Oak Clinic for MS and I have made many friends who come over from there) I kept thinking…they would love to get out of their wheelchairs and run like I am running..
What a powerful story, thank you for sharing!
Hi Regina! Thanks!