Today I completed my 5th half marathon, the OKC Memorial Marathon. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I feel like it took a village to get me to the finish line.
I posted a few weeks ago about how I had injured my right hip. Well, I’m not really better but I decided to run anyway. My running buddy Shane told me I was brave. I think maybe I’m stupid. My pace this year was about 30 minutes longer than my previous longest 1/2 marathon. But I finished. My body kept going and I convinced myself I could finish even though with each step my right leg asked me to “please stop.”
My finish today happened because I had wonderful people from my church praying for me, including one of my heroes Linda C., as well as my “church girls” dining group, my friend Bree, my extremely worried mother, my SIL (who is my editor in chief for this blog) and many others. It happened because Mandy G, my amazing friend who happens to be an amazing physical therapist, saw me when her schedule was full and I’m sure she would have rather been eating lunch. It happened because Dr. Barrett at OU Family/Sports Medicine reassured me that, although it would “hurt like hell” that I probably wouldn’t die. It happened because I knew the smiling faces I would encounter at Gorilla Hill, the Milk Bottle and 18th and Classen. It happened because my husband never stopped praying for me and texting me, even though he was running 7.3 miles in his own relay team.
The OKC Memorial Marathon is a “run to remember.” We run to remember the 168 lives lost on April 19th, 1995. I can remember the exact spot where I was standing when it happened. I remember the chaos and confusion. It’s easy to forget when it’s been over 2 decades ago. But today, when the pain was at its worst, I think I got a glimpse into what those who have been and are truly suffering endure each day. And what it means to be a survivor.
You see, suffering and survival are not idle terms. They do not always have a clean beginning and end. Many of those families whose mourning began in April 1995 are still suffering and surviving through each day. Today I was reminded that I am surrounded by people in pain, people in suffering, people in need. Along those 13.1 miles I thought about the mother who labors without an epidural. The mother who labors with an epidural that just doesn’t work well enough. The mom who gets up in the night to feed her baby despite having the still fresh wound from her c-section yelling at her to stay in bed. The woman recovering from surgery, the woman suffering from complications of her disease or the surgery that was intended to make it better. I couldn’t help but remember the faces that walk into my office who suffer daily pain that, despite my best efforts, I don’t have a great remedy for. Along with those are the faces of patients whose pain is not physical, but the emotional pain of great loss, need or injustice. I hope I always try my best to aide in the relief of suffering and the hope for survival.
I am also reminded that when I am that person who is suffering, I am surrounded by a great community of faith and friends who will carry me along until my suffering is relieved. It truly was a day to #runtoremember.