I love to walk. I always have. Walking has often been like therapy for me, a way to process ministry and mothering challenges. Each step offers a little one-on-one time with myself or when I'm willing to be quite enough to listen, a little one-on-one time with God. On our family beach vacations I walk on with my sister-in-laws (who are really sisters to me) as a way to catch up and share the details of our lives in between the visits. In October of this year I am going to take my love for walking to a new level. I will be going to Atlanta to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day event. This event challenges participants to walk 20 miles a day for 3 days in a row (yes, that is 60 miles total!) to help raise money for research, support, and care for people who are battling Breast Cancer. I lost one of my sisters (in-law) to cancer- not breast cancer, but I certainly know that cancer in all its forms is a tyrant. So I am training to walk 60 miles in 3 days with the hope that it will make a small difference in the battle to defeat cancer.
For the Too Many
People sometimes ask what I like about my job as a pastor. That is a hard one to answer. Its a joy and privilege to be with people at the most important and joy-filled moments of their lives. To watch a new couple join hands right before they say their wedding vows or pray over a new baby cuddled in the arms of exhausted parents are special moments. It's a privilege to hear people's stories of redemption and hope. Teaching, preaching, worshiping, and praying are all things that make my job fun and fulfilling.
Sometimes people ask what is the hardest part of my job, though, and that is an easy one to answer. The funerals and memorial services are the most difficult. I have done too many. I have especially done too many services for women who have courageously endured treatments and surgeries and terrible side-effects in their effort to beat cancer. I am walking for the too many sons and daughters who won't have their moms there when they say their vows or cuddle their new babies. I'm walking for the too many grandchildren who don't have "grandma's" hand to hold and I'm walking for the husbands who are raising their kids and trying to move on in their lives without their wives. I am walking for the too many.
For the Many More
I am also walking with a full heart for the many women I know who have tackled the tyrant! I am so inspired by them and the way they claim hope in their lives and live each day with strength and purpose. I am so grateful for my dear friends who have survived the surgeries and treatments and terrible side-effects. I am walking for them and the many more women who could claim "breast cancer survivor" as part of their journey. I'm walking for the many more children and husbands who will not have to grieve. I'm walking for the many more who will benefit from research and treatments that hopefully will lead to "No More!"