Last weekend the boys and I participated in Polly’s Run, the Albuquerque race to cure pancreatic cancer. As far as running goes, I had been battling with recurring lower back pains and had reduced my frequency and distance for the past month. The day before I woke up with a sore throat that was starting to bring a little extra mucous. My boys were doing the kids K, and as usual their hard-core training was one afternoon of running around the couch a few times. 😉
Maybe we were not in peak physical condition, but we were more than ready for this particular race. What we lacked in pace or stamina, we made up for in heart. We were running this race for our dear friend, Grace, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April 2014. She has put a personal face to this aggressive disease. We wanted to raise awareness and help fund needed research to give hope and encouragement for her, her family, and all who have been affected. From the start, it has been a family affair. We had already been praying for her daily. The boys and I checked our fund-raising page regularly. Each of us contributed even from our kid-sized piggy banks. We each decorated blank bibs to wear why we were running.
Like all races and running in general, it was physically hard for me. It was not easy for the boys either. But we made it. It was not my personal best time, but it was THE best time. There were over a couple hundred folks running and walking for the cause. Some had personalized T-shirts identifying them as “Team Richard” or the encouragement to “Never stop fighting.” I noticed a father and daughter running together for their brother/uncle. It made me think of all the stories behind each participant. When one of Polly’s sons thanked the crowd prior to the start, the tears rolled down my face as soon as his voice cracked with emotion. As a mother of boys, I wanted to tell them how proud Polly is of the continuing work they do in her memory. I think they know; I am sure she tells them in her own way.
I believe in a good God. I believe He answers prayers. I believe He is trustworthy. I believe His love knows no bounds and His power has no limits. Yet, the biggest struggle I have had in understanding Him lately is how His perfect will allows for my 35-year-old friend to be diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. How He allows for her to experience the most harrowing forms of treatment that beats her up physically. How He allows for the most devastating of thoughts to slay her emotionally. (Why should she have to worry that her 2-year-old son may not remember her? She should not.) How He allows for her to journey to the darkest places spiritually. I know all the “right” answers. I just cannot always reconcile them to my hurting heart. This hurt never leaves me. Sometimes when I am singing songs in church, it keeps me from blindly echoing words on a screen. I cannot simply go through the motions. It brings hesitation because it produces the recurring “but…but…but…” in the midst of words I usually sing with immovable faith.
Just as ever-present as these struggles of existentialism is thankfully the constant proof of the goodness of humanity that I personally believe reflects the true nature of God. How else could we survive in this sometimes painful and often irrational world? All the things that counter those evils keep us going. It provides the belief for my unbelief. For this instance, it was the team of people who donated to our fund. Some were mutual friends of Grace and mine. Some were friends of ours who never met Grace. Some were friends of hers who never met me. Some were complete strangers to us both. However, they generously and graciously gave. They cheered us on in our efforts. Team Grace became the biggest fund-raiser for the race with a grand total of $2,250, and most significantly it gave our friend Grace some precious hope in her difficult fight.
Hard things will always happen; goodness will help get us through them. While we cannot always reconcile the truly difficult, we can always take an active part in bringing the redemptive good. Thanks to all who donated and to all who are doing their own acts of goodness every day in their particular parts of the world. You give us all hope, strength, and belief in the power of Love winning.