(Previously published October 5, 2010)
Tomorrow I sit in the chemo chair once again.
I'll receive my 4th and last push from the "red devil" Adriamyacin and then the last drip of Cytoxin.
Hard to believe I will be half way there...that is, to the chemo finish line.
A couple years ago, I started running to add some variation to my morning workout routine. It had gotten a little mundane. For months, my feet hit the pavement of our neighborhood, but soon, that too, became uninspiring. I needed a challenge. Something to work towards.
A friend suggested I pick a local 5K and begin training in preparation. If you know me, you know that I love competition. I love the thrill of competing, I love pushing myself and of course, winning is nice too. And so I set out with a race on the calendar and a training schedule before me.
I remember standing at the starting line amidst a sea of what seemed like serious racers. I mean most of them looked the part, that is of a real racer and a real runner. And I remember looking at their feet. Looking at the running shoes adorning their feet and thinking of the miles that those shoes had run. The terrain they had mastered. The finely crafted shoe made to cushion the foot and protect it from the constant pounding as the weight of the body made contact with the hard surface underneath.
Then my gaze fell to my own two feet.
To the running shoes that had covered many miles and while not always cushioning my feet well, they had carried my legs. But I felt instantly inadequate. Thinking I can't do this. How did I ever believe I was a runner and that I would make it through a race. I don't even have real running shoes.......who am I?
Within in seconds, the horn sounded and the race was underway. No longer could I think about my inadequacy, my insufficiency, my weakness.....I had to run and run I did. And as I ran, I remember the markers along the way signaling my distance covered. The finish line was yet in sight, but there were milestones, beckoning me onward. Filling me with endurance. Giving me a reason to put the next foot in front of the other. I was tired and my legs began to feel heavy. But I remember rounding the last corner and seeing before me the marker saying, "you're hitting the end, only 1/4 mile left."
I dug deep.
I set my eyes on that finish line.
And as I hit the last long stretch, I heard the cheers and encouragement ring through my ears from the sidelines where my husband and children stood. Pushing me forward. Strengthening me and encouraging me.
It was what I needed and my run turned into a sprint.
As my feet crossed over the finish line, what was an all out sprint became a steady walk.
Walking it out....the tired legs, the sore thighs, the burning calves. The fast breathing slowed down to deep breaths, as the sweat rolled down my forehead.
The race was done. I made it. And instead of feeling depleted, I was energized.
It was worth it.
And so tomorrow, I am rounding that corner of treatment. I don't yet see the finish line and I'm not suppose to.
And yes, I am tired.
But I see the half way marker and I'm asking God to give me the strength to keep running to that finish line.
There are days I still don't believe this really is my race. I feel inadequate. I feel weak. I feel insufficient. And you know what, I am all these things.
But He isn't.
And so I run this race, not alone. I run surrounded by you all cheering me on. And I run in the strength and joy of the Lord. I run one step, one day, one race. Standing fast in Him as He has equipped me and He sustains me. It is only on the battlefield that we are trained. And truly this is a battle. A race. My training ground.
Please pray for me tomorrow. Please pray against the nausea, against the fatigue and that this last dose will do its job. Please pray for endurance as I have four more to go and next time, the chemo drug changes.
I'm rounding the corner, running, knowing with each step, I am one foot closer to the finish line. It is worth it.
"Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run,
with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."
With love and gratitude,