Well, I got to feeling that way just the other night. I accompanied a group of my BFFs to a big name sports tavern, where they were picking up their MS Mud Run registration packets. I was having the time of my life when, all of the sudden, it hit me. I have the very condition that this highly publicized run is for? I didn't like that reality check, let me tell you. While ms never lets me forget it's around, it's just not something I put much thought into on a regular basis. I'm so much more than a woman with ms. Plus, I have very little attention span. But this was like the Groundhog Day movie, where I re-experienced the dx all over again. Then I got mad at myself and began to argue. It went like, "stop it, you've had this since '99. You're out with your friends and you're eating crab fries. What could be better? This night will never happen exactly like this again. Hey, is that cheese sauce?" (seriously, it was) Despite the gut check, I was overcome with loneliness in all its ugly.
The following morning, I received a text from my dear friend, Debbie. I've written about her before, because she has a way of unwittingly pulling me out of the hole that ms pushes me into at times. Her message read: "Jeremiah 29:11...just saying! Let the Lord hold you in His arms!" She also made a joke about spanx. Come on, how could I stay in a spirit of "down" when I got a text with scripture and spanx? I think the answer is clear. I could not. And joke as she may, I find that spanx work just fine, thank you very much...
Speaking of the Mud Run, I served as a volunteer at the finish line. The job? Cut the plastic chips off the runners' shoes.
I stood in awe as hundreds of people poured into the park to take on the run. Hundreds became thousands. I came across several friends from high school, one of which created an entire team of ms supporters. My name appears on their website as someone they walk/run/bike for. As I saw them all gathering together for a team picture, I couldn't help but tear up a little. They could've been sipping coffee from the comfort of their living rooms early on a Saturday morning, but they were out here getting ready to work their tails off...for people like me. They gave me a warm welcome of handshakes and hugs.
My spirit of gratitude continued to grow as I clipped chip after chip from the mud soaked shoes of each exhausted runner. More often than not, they thanked me before I could thank them. Our group leader made sure to keep a close eye on us by bringing our lunches over, checking in periodically to see that we were faring well, and providing extra chairs so that we could rest in moments of down time. The conversations I had with other ms'ers were incredible. And I'm not sure which runner started it or why, but I received the first muddy hug of the morning and probably 50 more until the day was through. Out of those 50ish hugs, I knew only 2 people. The runners, even those who finished injured, were not too tired to express their love and appreciation for us. They realized that the very people they were running in support of? Were there to support and serve them today. As I sit here in recuperation, legs/knees/feet regaining feeling, the very thought of it all...the look in their eyes as we served them in our respective duties...is just overwhelming.
I came home caked in mud and wore it like a new piece of jewelry. It was humbly received via huge, squeezy hugs from tons of folks I'd never met before, from old friends, and from those who support me on a frequent basis. The mud washed away, but the incredible show of support and communicated prayers will always remain.
If you've ever felt like we fight this alone, just picture 4,000 people...all gathered in a big park...covered in mud. Now picture them all cheering, celebrating, and thanking...you. That's what I had the blessing of witnessing today. We are not alone. Not even a little.
Thank you, Lord, for surrounding us with such love and support:-)
|BFFs - Before! (Debbie on the right:-)|
|BFFs - AFTER!|
|Soaking wet and muddy...ME:-)|
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."