Day 16

Bearathon 2014!  So for my first ever half-marathon, I decided not to give up my Lenten discipline.  I figured, those who truly suffer can’t take it off so why should I?  So it was 13.1(+) in orange.  Oh, and a mugginess that left me soaked.  (And ruined the sign my daughter made for my back that tried again to point people to this blog and the stories and realities that it seeks to share.)  But I did it.  And it was quite a joyful personal accomplishment.

However, I couldn’t help but think though of all of the people who struggle every day to “run the race”.  So many have been forced to start the race over or have been made to begin much later than everyone else or have just made some mistakes and false starts which have set them back.  For whatever reason, we have to realize that the race of life isn’t the same for everyone.  I hope that the last 16 days of posts and stories have opened our eyes a bit more to these realities.

This blog and my journey are not meant to shun personal responsibility.  We all must put one foot in front of the other, each and every day.  But we all need a little help from our friends.  As you can see in the pictures below, I have an amazing fan club.  Without their support, I could not have endured and enjoyed the race the way that I did.  And at the end, I had a little extra help from my 6 year old daughter.  I cannot tell you the joy it brought me to see the signs my family made, hear their cheers, and to hold my daughter’s hand as I rounded the corner and headed to the finish line.

But what if prisoners and returning citizens and those with criminal records don’t have that kind of support system?  What if they don’t find forgiveness and love to be their rock in the hard places they find themselves?  There are millions of folks out there who need you not to run for them but to hold their hand, make them an encouraging sign, remove some unfair obstacles from their path, and just be a friend, full of compassion and love and forgiveness.  So many of them have no one else.  Will you be the one to take their hand and run the race with them?  They need you, and you need them.  You will never cease to be amazed at what you will receive from them along the way.

We are our brother’s and sister’s keepers/hand-holders/race companions…

I want to give a shoutout to Student Foundation at Baylor University.  They tirelessly and with a fullness of joy sacrifice themselves to put on an amazing race every year.  This year was no exception.  It was a great event!  And even better is the reason they put on the event — to raise funds for student scholarships.  I am a product of Baylor University student scholarships (and also a Student Foundation alumnus, 1999-2000).  My time at Baylor would not have happened if it were not for the generosity of scholarship donors like Robert D. Riley.  And this time at Baylor provided an essential formative experience for me as I grew in intellect, in faith, and in my passion to love the poor and oppressed.  Thank you Student Foundation for your meaningful and significant work!

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