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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

{these moments}: For Mathias

{this these moments}  A Friday Tuesday Wednesday? ritual.  A single few photos of moments from the week.  Simple, extraordinary moments.  Moments I want to pause, savor and remember.

Well, last Friday I had started a {this moment} post where I meant to post some photos from the race I ran last week and of the boy for whom I ran, but the moments were busy and full and I barely took time to sit at my desk for days.

Then Monday came and along with it, a Facebook post I had expected and feared.  There was a moment when I held my breath and wished the words weren't true.  A moment when I realized that all these little intervals of 60 seconds just seem to be slipping away too fast.  A moment when I wished I could give some of my remaining moments to someone else.  My friend Mathias, who has been fighting cancer for two years still fights on.  His family still fights on.  His friends pray and we hope and we beg His mercy and His miracles because that is what we have left.  There are no more treatment options.

I'm back here now with my cutesy {this moment} draft from last week staring me in the face.  The cursor blinking at me, challenging me to write something profound and comforting as the moments tick on and I wipe away tears again wondering how there could possibly be any more left in my red, raw eyes.  So, I will remember those moments tonight that led me to run a race I didn't think I could, didn't think I would, but knew I should.  I will remember them, not to celebrate my accomplishment, because it wasn't really mine. Because a little boy with a million dollar smile took hold of my heart and my head and pretty much set my feet in motion a week ago.  For him and because of him, these moments happened.  If not for him, I would have stayed in my bed that morning.  I'm pretty darn sure of it.

First, there was that moment back in June when even though I thought I was done with long runs and even though it had been five years since I had run ten miles, I actually signed up to run the Army 10 Miler because there was a spot on a team called Team Mathias.  I had no choice because I would move mountains for that smile. 

As I trained and the day came closer there were those moments that I kept finding the calendar filling up.  And the moment when I noticed that the race weekend coincided with two out of town baseball tournaments, Homecoming weekend, one out of town golf tournament, a major rain storm and a monthly visitor that, as usual, despite the fact that I am 45 year old woman, I did not see coming.

Then, there was that moment when all of the above coupled with a drive in the pouring rain down to the DC Armory to pick up my packet resulted in my being completely lost for a good hour.  There were the moments that I was yelling bad words at the Google Map lady. I finally found my destination thanks to a street sign which also pointed arrows toward "Sexually Transmitted Disease Center" and "Detox Center".  I'm not making that up.  'Merica's capital, y'all.  God bless it.

Then there was the moment when I finally walked through the muddy parking lot, got into the Expo, received my packet and decided that due to all the things working against me and my excruciatingly bad attitude, I needed to buy an overpriced shirt and wear it for the next three days.

Then there was that moment the day before the race when I was feeling lonely and sad that all of my people would be in different cities if I even woke up on time to get myself all the way to the Pentagon to the starting line by 7:30 am.  And shortly after that I looked out my front door and found that some of my best girls and their kids had decorated my yard with "Good Luck" signs and trails of toilet paper lining the trees.  Friends are good, y'all.  Really good.

Then there was the moment half way through the race when my hamstring started to scream at me and I looked up to the blue sky to pray to finish the race strong and I saw all those people like angels on the bridge cheering us on to the finish.

Then as we inched closer to the finish and my hamstring kept hollering at me, there was the moment when I saw this guy.  It was at that moment that I told my hamstring to shut the heck up and I knew that I would finish.

Then I crossed the finish with my face all scrunched up as I fought back the tears because I knew that the race was long and the journey was hard and though this one race for me was done, there was still a race not completed.  A race that would continue to be daunting and painful in the days ahead for Mathias.  And I knew that God had been with me the whole time I ran my race even when my hamstring screamed and my lungs burned and my heart pounded.  He had not let me go.  And I knew that in that same way He would never let go of my courageous, beautiful friend and his family.  And I prayed that they would feel His presence and His comfort even if they struggled to see the tangible evidence of His great love.  Even if.

I think I'm done with long races, Mathias.  I ran my last for you.  But in the days to come, I will think of all that you and your family have taught me with every step that I take in any new race to which He calls me in this life.  I will resolve to finish strong just as you are.  You have changed the lives of so many, my friend.  And in my heart I hear you telling all of us that our race is not complete.  Though our legs are sore and our breathing is labored and our eyes are blurred so full with tears that we can't quite see clearly which path to take, we will keep running for you.  We will pray for a miracle with a hope that knows no end. 

No matter how many more moments my God chooses to give to me, your charm, your laugh and your easy smile will forever and ever be a part of them.  Some day when I am losing hope, when I am frustrated and want to give up this seemingly endless fight against childhood cancer, I will dig deep into that spot that you have taken up in my heart.  I will pull out the image of your smile and your bravery.  For you, I will keep running this race set before me until I see the arch of balloons over the finish line signaling that victory and glory are near.  Forever, Mathias. For you. 


Nicole @Tinystepsmommy said...

What a beautiful tribute to Mathias! I am so impressed that you ran that race for him. Sounds like you were being one of his angels that day.

S.M.H. said...

This is SO beautifully written. I've been following Mathias' story from the beginning... and he's certainly impacted my life. Our races are not complete, I'll remember that. I will also "pray for a miracle with a hope that knows no end."

Thanks for writing, Jenn.