Monday, February 9, 2009
I promise this isn't always going to be about running!
Ok - so last Saturday I ran my first 5K. My time was so slow. I had to stop and walk a few times - and about mile 2.5 my foot started feeling like it was getting poked by a stick. The more I ran the more I was getting poked. So I stopped and dug my finger into my shoe and couldn't feel anything and then kept running - after doing this a few times I finally sat down, took off my shoe and dug around in my sock and checked my shoe and still couldn't see any stick. So I got up and finished and after I crossed the finish line (with a bunch of strangers cheering when they called out my name - that was awesome!) I took off my shoe and found the hugest blister I have ever had right on the bottom of my foot. Perfect. One more reason to LOVE running! But I completed my first race and it was exciting, blister and all.
Today I ran 2.5 miles in the pouring rain. Am I insane?? All I could think as I was going was "chemo was harder, chemo was harder." I'm so grateful everyday that Shelby is ok and I want to do all I can to help fight Lymphoma!
This whole running thing reminds me of a little thing I wrote up for the relief society sisters when we lived in VA. I'll finish with that. Because this whole running goal reminds me so much of the goal that all of us have of eternal life.
"One of my most valued possessions is a yellow letter written to me on hospital paper. It is from my Dad. He was 48 years old and had just found out that his cancer had returned. He had six children, the youngest just 9 years old. Things did not look good. At a time when bitterness and doubt could have prevailed, these are the words he wrote to me, "The Lord must really love me, because he says, 'Whom the Lord loves he chasteneth,' and 'I will have a tested people.' He has certainly tested me. But if he thinks I'm going to give up, and be resentful, He's wrong. My faith is strong. I know that Jesus, my Savior, loves me and cares for me, and wants me to be a strong servant. He just has to refine me a little." In closing he wrote, "Don't worry about me. It's in the Lord's hands and I accept whatever he wants for me - everything will turn out for the best." He passed away just four months later.
What an example of faith and courage he was to me. When I get feeling sorry for myself and begin to feel overburdened or discouraged, I think about that yellow letter. "The Lord must really love me . . " The severity of my problems diminishes, and I am left with a sweet peace that "everything will turn out for the best." And it will.
The scriptures are a lot like that yellow note from my Dad. They are encouraging words from our Heavenly Father to guide us and comfort us. "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." (2 Nephi 31:20)
Life gets hard sometimes. Trials come. Tears fall. Hearts break. But the Savior has taught us how to get through it. He will be there to help us, to guide us, and to comfort us, so that one day we will be able to return home to live with Him and our Heavenly Father again.
Recently,some members of our ward participated in a 10K. Upon asking a sister how she did, she replied, "I reached my goal - I finished the race." How strange would it have been for her to reply, "Well, I got tired and a little hungry halfway through the race, so I just sat down and quit." So it is with our lives. Our goal is to "finish the race," to return to live eternally with our Heavenly Father. But when we turn away from the truths we have been taught, become offended, close our hearts to the spirit or in some way walk away from the Lord and his promises, we are in essence, sitting down and quitting the race. If you watch races you will find that people will do anything to cross that finish line. They come crawling, crying, stumbling or sprinting. But they cross the line and they are joyful!. Imagine the joy awaiting us, as we crawl, cry stumble or sprint across that eternal finish line and into the loving arms of our Savior. Don't sit down half way through. You can do it!
In closing I want to leave with you a few words from another letter that I hold dear. My sister-in-law recently returned from a mission in Madagascar. Her last letter told of the many trials and joys she encountered while serving: fleas, malaria drugs, periods of time with no electricity or plumbing, falling in open sewers, sickness, shoes held together by safety pins, kids throwing rocks at her, the list goes on. And why did Tami do all of these things? Her answer is a beautiful lesson. "Why? Because God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith the prophet and restored the fullness of the everlasting gospel on the earth. And I know it. And other people need to know too. It was so worth it."
May we all endure to the end and trust in the Lord, so that when our life is over we, too, can say with conviction, "It was so worth it!"