Wednesday, March 23, 2016

World Vision Global 6K For Water

World Vision
Global 6K For Water

Last Saturday, March 19, 2016, the World Vision Global 6K For Water rocked 203 host sites in the United States & 8 other countries around the world to provide clean water for 8000 people in Africa!!  8000 people, whom on average walk 6K to retrieve water from a dirty water hole every day for their families.  A water hole that likely is shared with animals, parasites, and the sewage of human waste.  Many of which are children that forfeit their education for the necessity of survival, only to die from the disease infesting the water they labor to retrieve.  Having 2 sons from Ethiopia, this reality cuts deep to the heart. 

My son, Aiden,& I had the great privilege of running alongside some wonderful people in 25 degree temps!  I am by no means a natural runner - I am slow, but steady and my left knee acts as an internal GPS that sets off an alarm for my screaming pain receptors around the 2 mile mark of every race.  So...why do I sign up for races?  I LOVE a good race, especially for a good cause - they make me cry...Every. Single. Time. (& not just b/c of my knee pain!).  I love the sight of people celebrating the gift of health & the ability to keep moving forward, keep pressing on, keep working toward the goal until the finish line is crossed.  At this race, it was the sight of hundreds of people (paying a nominal fee in our lavish country) and joyfully carrying their friend in Africa across the finish line.  The finish line signifying the end of dirty water, disease and laborious walks to retrieve water.  Instead of the race bibs displaying a number, they showed the beautiful faces & names of our soul brothers/sisters that would be gifted with clean, life-giving water.  How do we possibly make a difference in the plight of poverty, disease & injustice?  Sometimes we run...and when we run, we allow ourselves to fall in love with the people we are running for.  And when we fall in love with them, we carry them to our Savior in prayer.  

At the start of the race, I reached for my earbuds & my 'running mix tunes', but I felt the Lord whisper to my heart, "not this time...I want you to hear my people".  So instead of listening to music, I heard the dialogue of my Savior commentating the 6K of the race through His people.  I heard the heavy, rugged breath of runners forcing 25 degree air through their lungs at the start. The sound of footsteps on pavement - some light & graceful, some heavy and labored.  I heard the sound of children joyfully walking alongside their parents, soaking in their encouraging words.  Be still my therapist heart, I was blessed to run alongside a man with cerebral palsy, who ran...RAN the race in a methodical step..limp...step..limp...(trip, catch himself)...step..limp.  And when his shoes would not stay tied, I watched God's people bend down to tie them for him.  I watched men & women carry 5 gallon Jerry Can's of water for the entire race to honor the true labor of our African friends.  I heard the Creator in the wind that rustled the barren trees reminding us that His breath flows through our lungs & sustains us.  I heard strangers shout encouraging words to one another as the brotherhood of runners united by their purpose resounded "great job!", "you can do it!", "6K for us, no more for them!"  I passed my Aiden, who was born with bilateral club feet & currently has a benign bony tumor (myositis ossificans) in his quadricep muscle that causes him pain when he runs.  He was killin' it - running as fast as his legs could carry him and I shouted to him 
"Hey! There's my boy - how's it going buddy?" 
He responded with a wincing smile, "My leg is killing me, but I'm almost there, I'm not stopping now!"  
With tears in my eyes & a heart filled with pride, I yelled, "You are a Rockstar, wait for me at the finish line!" 
Isn't that the whole purpose of this life?  Refusing to stop running until we arrive at the finish line? Listening to sound of our Savior's voice when He whispers, "hey, I have something to still so you can hear me"?  Stepping out of our comfort zone, into our weakness, so His strength can be glorified in us?  While it is my great privilege to run & praise God for the healthy body to participate, I will never win first place in a race.  I did, however, win the prize last Saturday when my Jesus ran alongside me. I was reminded that physical activity is a form of worship to our Creator, especially when we do it unto others.  
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?  So run that you may obtain it."  1 Corinthians 9:24

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