Sunday, June 12, 2016

Never Give Up

"Never, Never, Never give up!" -Sir Winston Churchill

 A week has passed since the 5th annual Linda A. Ferguson memorial 5K took place. And it's been a whirlwind week, but as I sit on a beautiful deck with a cup of coffee in hand, watching gentle ripples across the lake, my thoughts on the event are collected and I wanted to take a few minutes to share, as I always do post-event.

 I am probably unique from most race directors in that I will share with you my thoughts and emotions in regards to my event. So, bear with me as I spill my heart on the canvas of this screen for a moment.

 If you are unfamiliar with the event, I became the co-founder of it in 2011 after the passing of my mom. It was a way to keep her memory alive a little bit, to keep her legacy of love living through students who could go out and carry light to cancer patients for years to come. The scholarship became a tangible way we could carry on mom's heart. The event holds her name, as does the scholarship, but it's never really been about my mom, per say. The event is meant to be a means to the continuation of a yearly scholarship for students who need help financially, who ultimately have the goal of helping cancer patients for years and years to come.

 As with any event, bumps occur and problems need worked out. Each year I have faced something. Honestly, it would not be an event if there were no problems in the mix of it all. But this year, the 2016 event, I had a fair share of difficulties. Committed members to helping dropped out on me. Dollars fell through. And competition in the world of 5K's was fierce. In the world of running, the market is becoming saturated and our event was up against at least 7 others in the area (that I was aware of). Needless to say, to sum it up, I was more than frustrated and contemplating giving up the event at the completion of this year's.

As any director would do, and as my mentor taught me, I plugged through the difficulties and aimed to make it the best event that could possibly take place, given the circumstances. I had to make decisions that were tough, but for the benefit of the event, which in essence, was to benefit the scholarship. I was ready to let go of it, if that is what God wanted me to do. But I was going to go out with all I had. I do not quit. It's not in me. I have learned to let go, but there is a difference between letting go and quitting. I have gained an appreciation for the definition of letting go.

 But God did something amazing. Through prayer and humility and an all out seeking Him, He showed up in crazy ways I did not expect.
 In the last week before the event, participation doubled.
    Volunteers came out of the woodwork.
       And a few very good friends-Kevin, Hannah, Cheri, and Lori- stepped up to help in enormous ways.

The morning was beautiful, even if a few raindrops fell. And the 5K was full of surprises for me.
My friends Doug and Kristen surprised me and showed up at the start line... from FLORIDA!  I could not believe that.
  My other friends Rob and Kristin showed up, with hugs and words of encouragement (and some good mentoring, too.)
     Old customers of mine came to support the event.
And much of the nursing department from Cedarville University walked or ran with smiles and CU nursing shirts.
The list goes on, really, but the point is, I felt the love. I felt encouraged. And I embraced the saying of "Never, Never, Never Give Up!"

 As the event kicked off, it held some kinks, but nothing life-shattering, and all experiences which certainly brought to light new learning moments. And thoughts of how to make next year's event a better success. Yes... next year's event. In light of all that happened in the last 2 weeks leading up to the 5K, we will come back in 2017. I am excited to see how the year might reshape the event to grow and be better. I have ideas brewing that could unfold into beautiful results. In the meantime, in memory of my mom, we are able to continue giving to students in need who will in turn make a difference in the lives of countless cancer patients.

 Letting go and Giving up are two very different things. This year, among many lessons, one which is dominant through this event and life in general for me is
 "Never, Never, Never Give Up!"

    You just never know how God is going to show up.  I should really stop being surprised by how He works, but I am constantly amazed. And, not unlike any of the years prior, He taught me much about faith and about friendship. He humbled me. I learned to let go a little more and let Him have the reigns. And I was reminded of the fighter that lives in me. The 5K is not about me at all. I just happen to get to be the hands and feet of the behind the scenes planning of it.
 So, as we move forward into the next year, we will press on and not give up. If God wants me to let go of it, He will show me. But for now, we get to bless another student in the 2016-17 school year.
   Never give up! You never know what might be in store. There may be tears and frustrations and times you question, but never give up.  One day it might be time to let go, but today is not that day.
  Keep on keeping on. One day at at time.

Ed Supplee, first place winner coming through the finish line!

The Cedarville University Nursing Dept. 

Runners Warming Up

The Start Line

Surprise! Doug and Kristen, forever friends, Came to run!

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